Gujarat Kutch Embroidery – Sewing colors onto fabrics

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What do you and I do when we have to pass time? Books, magazines, internet, games, music, conversations …?

Here is an account of what tribal women of Kutchh do, they ‘create’ symbols of their culture and custom…

The women of Kutchh carry out embroidery on products that are used at home – wall hangings, quilts, wedding couture, skirts & blouses (ghahgra choli), for children’s clothes, on shirts (kurtas) worn by their husbands, on scarves… basically anything and mostly everything. Some handmade pieces take them months to complete as they also need to tend to household chores and farming.

Broadly there are 7 types of embroideries done in Kutchh – Jat, Soof, Kharek, Rabari, Aahir, Pakko and Mutwa. Let us give you an account of each for better appreciation…

Jats are pastoral communities who migrated from western Asia to India centuries ago. The Jat women generally use cross stitch embroidery to cover the whole of fabric in a pre-planned geometric design. They also extensively use mirrors in their work

Jat embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Jat embroidery

Soof embroidery is done by the Sodha, Rajput and Meghwal communities of Kutchh. The designs by them are largely geometric patterns developed using satin stitch from reverse side of the fabric. Keen eyesight, knowledge of mathematics and geometry are a must to produce Soof work. Soof motifs include rhythmic patterns from lives of artisans like peacocks, mandalas, etc. and are used to create articles like garments, bedspreads, wall hangings, quilts, torans, cradle cloths, animal trappings and cushion covers…

Soof embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Soof embroidery

Kharek embroidery is done by Sodha, Rajput and Meghwal communities. Artisans outline geometric patterns on a fabric and then fill in the spaces with bands of satin stitching that are worked along warp and weft from the front.

Kharek embroidery Kutchh Gujarat

Kharek embroidery

Rabari embroidery is done by Rabari communities of Kutch which are predominantly pastoral nomadic communities that rear cattle. The designs produced by them are bold and ususually derived from mythology and daily lives. The outline on fabric is made in chain stitch and then filled closely using buttonhole single chain, herringbone stitches. Usually black colored base is used for Rabari embroideries.

Rabari embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Rabari embroidery

Aahir embroidery is done by outlining freehand designs on a fabric using square chain stitch and then filling using closed herringbone stitch. Mirrors are extensively used in this form of embroidery as well.

Aahir embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Aahir embroidery

Pakko embroidery is done by outlining using square chain stitch and tightly filling geometrical patterns using double buttonhole stitches. This embroidery is done by Sodha, Rajput and Meghwal communities of Kutchh.

Pakko embroidery Kutchh Gujarat

Pakko embroidery

Mutawa embroidery is practiced by Muslim herders of Banni grasslands in northern Kutchh. They tiny patterns of Mutawa embroidery employ combinations of square chain, buttonhole, chain, satin, herringbone stitches.

Mutawa embroidery Kutchh Gujarat

Mutawa embroidery

Indeed, when creations reflect essence of cultures and colors of life, it is bound to create magic – thanks to the tribes of Kutchh.

To avail a personalized product for yourself, do write to us at info@kalacafe.com or call us on 9920458957. Alternatively, do follow us for latest product updates on www.facebook.com/thekalacafe or https://www.etsy.com/in-en/shop/KalaCafe

For more information about us visit http://www.kalacafe.com

Kutchh Textiles – Block printed in Ajrakhpur

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Kutchh has a long history of legendary fabrics, ancient customs of crafts and local flavors in design. Fabric weaving, designing and trading have been identities of several communities for centuries in this part of India.

Age old techniques of each of these crafts lend a rich and distinct flavor to every fabric creation – be it woven, tie & dyed, block – printed or embroidered. Bhuj is the central location in Kutchh from where one gets to access these smaller pockets of these craft treasures.

As you move 14 km east of Bhuj you come across Ajrakhpur – a village well known for its block printing tradition.

Block printing mouldAjrakhpur block printing paste, Kutchh, Gujarat

Ismail Mohammed Khatri and his family have been practising this tradition for decades. Yards of fabric block printed with beautiful designs stamped in ink paste using crafted wooden moulds is a laborious task. But the resulting colorful fabric is intriguingly appealing.

Ajrakhpur block printing, Kutchh, Gujarat-3

Ajrakhpur block printing, Kutchh, Gujarat-8

Ajrakhpur block printing, Kutchh, Gujarat

Sometimes block printed fabrics are also used as base to do embroidery and enhance fabric’s beauty.

Ajrakhpur block printing, Kutchh, Gujarat-9

For any product/ bulk consignments related queries, do write to us at info@kalacafe.com or call us on 9920458957. Alternatively, do follow us for latest product updates on www.facebook.com/thekalacafe or https://www.etsy.com/in-en/shop/KalaCafe

For more information about us visit http://www.kalacafe.com

Kutchh textiles – Magic of weaving threads

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Exploring arts of Kutchh is by itself an invigorating experience. It allows you to immerse in journey of this land through time. Flanked by Arabian Sea on its west this corner of India has seen an influx of cross border migrations; existence of trade ports here lead to exchange of cultures and traditions over centuries. The varied colors of  creative crafts produced by this transition is what you witness and experience in Kutchh. Pastoral communities and nomadic tribes settled here for decades inhabit this zone and hence – flourishing grounds for native arts!

Each and every pocket of Kutcchh is endowed with traditional arts rich in their own flavor, valued for their own distinctiveness. Bhuj is the central location in Kutchh from where one gets to access these  pockets of art treasures.

Suswagatam

Suswagatam

Land of cotton and textile weaving, Gujarat has been known for its handicrafts from decades. It is here where we get to explore weaving of extraordinary fabrics. Bhujodi  is a small village located at a distance of 9 kms east of Bhuj where this tradition is being practiced by the Vankars – descendants of traditional Meghwal weavers. Children of these families are taught this craft from a very early stage. Weaving is carried out in the workshop areas where large hand looms are placed. Craftsmen weave from morning till dusk breaking only for lunch in between. The process of setting the weaving threads into the machine itself takes 2 laborious days.

Yarn

Yarn

Rolling threads into rolls for use on loom

Rolling threads into rolls for use on loom

The threads have to be placed on the loom as per the desired design. Once set up is done, the threads are interwoven into fabric with the help of synchronized movements of hands and feet. So  placement of threads on  loom and  movement of hands and feet pulling these threads together accomplish the final fabric design. The type of yarn used determines texture of the fabric.

Loom

Set up of loom

Magic of threads

Magic of threads

The threads used for weaving can be either cotton, silk, or wool (natural wool gives the finished product a thick texture and is extremely warm; a lighter version is woven with artificial wool but it certainly does not match former’s authenticity).

In each of the villages, one form of craftsmanship is carried out extensively, but other art forms also do co-exist – the synergy of which is seen around. For instance, woven fabrics are passed through tie & dye process and then embroidered upon to enhance its appeal.  Weaving is done by Vankars, then the cloth is passed over to  Muslim Khatris who carry out an extensive tie & dye (bandhani) procedure on the fabric. Once retrieved, the dyed fabric is passed on to the Rabari community of the village. Rabaris are pastoral communities known for their fine detailed embroidery on fabrics. All these activities together add to the richness and texture of the final fabric – hence creating a remarkable piece of beauty.

Rabari embroidery on tie & dyed handwoven fabric

KalaCafe supports local artisans and craftsmen practicing native forms of art in Kutchh.

Video – Kutchh textile weaving, Guajarat, India by KalaCafe

For any product/ bulk consignments related queries, do write to us at info@kalacafe.com or call us on 9920458957. Alternatively, do follow us for latest product updates on www.facebook.com/thekalacafe or https://www.etsy.com/in-en/shop/KalaCafe

For more information about us visit http://www.kalacafe.com

10% discount on select vintage paintings this Valentine’s Day!

10% discount on all ‘couple’ miniature paintings on KalaCafe’s Etsy Shop this Valentine’s Day. Grab this opportunity now to gift your loved ones a token of LOVE with a ROYAL touch!

Visit us at KALCAFE’s ETSY SHOP 

Roots of our identity

KALACAFE

KALACAFE

KalaCafe’s logo combines 3 elements.

kaa symbol

The core of the design is KA,  the first letter of Indian Devanagari script. It denotes the first alphabet ‘Ka’ of name ‘KalaCafe’ in Devanagari. This ties in with our belief of being rooted in tradition yet open to progressiveness. As much as we believe in keeping the traditional art intact; we also support innovation through a blend of tradition with contemporary designs.

mustacheMustache is symbolic of our Indian artists – their talent, skills and confidence with which they have retained the essence of India’s rich culture and traditions for generations.

ELEPHANT GAJRAJElephant motif has been represented in historical Indian art forms in many ways – stones carvings, sculpture, jewellery, pottery and traditional paintings. Two elephants of our logo align with classical representation of elephants in symmetrical form.

Finally our tagline – Celebrate art.

celebrate art

India is abounding with rich Indian art forms. Here, the local culture and tradition are kept alive through region specific art forms. When art, artists and art lovers from across regions come together on a single platform facilitated by us, it is an occasion of true celebration – learning about art & artist’s way of life, discovering moments of happiness while experiencing the process of creation of art, appreciating authentic art…

Visit us at http://www.kalacafe.com

Learning Miniature Art

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An exhilarating experience of learning the process of painting miniature art from renowned art guru Shri. Lalit Sharma from Rajasthan.

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Grinding and mixing stone colors

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Readying a royal element to be painted; and here it begins…

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This moderate level art piece took 4 hours to complete; a small finer work takes around 2 days of sitting with the artist.

If you also want to experience this exquisite art; we are just a mail away…

For Mumbai art lovers, we are holding an exclusive miniature painting workshop this November on 23rd and 24th. No prior knowledge of miniatures is required to attend this workshop. The artist will take the participants through intricacies involved in creating a miniature painting from sketching, grinding and mixing the stone colors, to applying them with special brushes to create their own miniature painting.

To buy authentic miniature paintings visit http://www.kalacafe.com or

https://www.etsy.com/in-en/shop/KalaCafe or

contact us on http://www.facebook.com/thekalacafe

Tibetan Arts – Thangka paintings and woodcarving from Dharamsala

Dharamsala is a small town nestled in the foothills of the Dhauladhar Ranges of Himalayas in Kangra district of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

Dharamsala

The suburbs of the town include McLeodGanj, Bhagsunath, Dharamkot, Naddi, ForsythGanj, Kotwali Bazaar (the main market of the town), Kaccheri Adda (government offices such as the court, police, post etc.), Dari, Ramnagar, Sidhpur and Sidhbari.

Dharamshala is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. It was in 1960 that following the 1959 Tibetan uprising there was an influx of Tibetan refugees here who followed the 14th Dalai Lama. His presence and the Tibetan population has made Dharamshala a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, including students studying Tibet and Tibetan culture. Many cultural centers have sprung up for the preservation and study of traditional medicine, thangka painting, wood carving, folk opera, music, astrology, handicrafts and much more.

Kala Cafe organizes trips and workshops for the following art forms to Dharamsala where art lovers get to stay in homestays nearby villages and experience an amalgam of Himachali and Tibetan culture.

Thangka Painting are traditional roll paintings that may depict Budhha, Tibetan deities, mandalas or scenes from the Buddha’s life. Paintings are made according to a proportional grid relevant to each deity.They are painted in opaque watercolor on cotton fabric, then mounted in traditional Tibetan silk brocade. Thangkas are meant to be more than simply two-dimensional images, but seen as 3-dimensional forms or concepts, used for meditation or reflection. Generally, thangkas last a very long time and retain much of their luster, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places to prevent moisture from affecting the quality of silk. It is also called as a scroll-painting.

Vajra Thangka paintingThangka painting

In a 2 week long workshop, the apprentice has to devote 5 hours everyday with the master of Thangka Paintings. During this time one is taken through art of sketching, and gradually through filling colors into the sketch proportions.

Thangka workshop

Thangka Sketching

Thangka

Needless to say, one cannot perfect this art in 2 weeks but the exposure to this brilliant art form in a Tibetan environment is unmatched. One not only gets involved with the art but the lives of the fellow Tibetans as well – an experience you can get only if you visit Dharamsala.

Woodcarving is an art of carefully drawing and mastering images on pieces of wood.This unique Tibetan wood carving technique involves drawing beautiful traditional designs on selected variety of wood and then carving out the design using tools.

wood carving

Some of the most common designs are the ancient Tibetan Gods. The artists are renowned in producing excellent woodcarving, carved and painted crafts being their specialty.

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KalaCafe deals in exclusive interior|exterior decors, art installations, custom designs of authentic Indian art forms like miniature art, terracotta works, batik, etc. – created by our highly experienced traditional artists and an in-house design team. We also organize workshops for art lovers who wish to learn new art forms from only the masters or none. Here, art aficionados get to stay with the artist gurus to learn and experience the process of creating the art piece.

To buy authentic Indian art forms, visit us at http://www.kalacafe.com, or write to us on info@kalacafe.com

Follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thekalacafe for regular updates on products and events

Rajasthan Arts – Exploring the Miniature Paintings in Udaipur City

Rajasthani handicrafts and the outstanding art forms are renowned globally. And Udaipur, the capital of Mewar, is a major contributor to this recognition. Last year we got a chance to explore a few exclusive art forms of Udaipur city practiced by the artisans for generations. Here is an account of a few which caught our attention.

Exploring the Miniature Paintings in Udaipur City

Gajraj - elephant miniature painting Udaipur

Wandering the streets of Suraj Pol, in the look out for something original, we stumbled across some beautiful elephant wall paintings. On inquiring about the artist we were directed to his studio nearby. Lalit Sharma gave us a warm welcome and showed us around his displayed pieces of artworks.

He mentioned  that his family has been in the profession of designing miniature paintings for several generations. His grandfather used to serve great king Maharana Bhupal Singh and garnered many awards for his excellence. His great-grandfather used to create artworks for Maharana Fateh Singh. He still owns a masterpiece by his great- grandfather which depicts a procession of Maharana Sajjan Singh – a beautiful painting made using real gold paint. Needless to say it is priceless for him.

He showed us his works with such alacrity that the vibes were infectious! He showed us Radha Krishna paintings in blue colored theme, each of them had great detailing involved immensely appealing to the eyes.  His creations were in varied shapes and sizes to suit what art aficionados may prefer.

Maharajas of Udaipur - Miniature painting on canvas

Each creation takes a couple of days to weeks to design depending upon the detailing and size of artwork. The astonishing part was that the same panting could be reproduced by him in different sizes, surely an outcome of  practice, dedication and experience of more than 17 years. Check out the collection http://www.kalacafe.com OR https://www.etsy.com/in-en/shop/KalaCafe

At the studio of miniature paintings

The paintings are made with stone colors. The powder that is available in local markets is mixed with water and gum. In order to check if the color mix is ready to be used for painting, it needs to be touched with finger to see if it doesn’t stick back which confirms that the color is mixed well. It can then be used for painting on silk cloth or canvas. Black colors is derived from soot which is obtained from vessels put over chulhas - fireplace used for cooking in villages. Gum doesn’t mix very easily with soot but after laborious mixing it develops into color black  for the paintings.

He is no less than a true art director as composing a painting on a 12 X 4 feet canvas is surely a talent. This one particular painting had been decorated with delicate work using acrylic colors – there were musicians – horse riders, elephant pair (gajraj), dhola maru - camel and followers donning exquisite ornaments. He deals in wall hangings, conference wall arts, weddings, gifting pieces, etc.

Miniature painting - Royal procession

Miniature painting - Royal procession

Miniature painting - Royal procession

Although his children study in schools and colleges, he makes sure they do practice this art form during their free time  as he wishes to ensure that this art form survives through generations.

To buy some of these paintings, visit http://www.kalacafe.com OR https://www.etsy.com/in-en/shop/KalaCafe

Also, here are some sneak peaks into the marketplace as we roamed  the streets of Udaipur city.

The city clock

Pristine

Old handmade paper shop - Udaipur city

Roaming streets of Udaipur

Roaming streets of Udaipur city

At the counter of an old post office

Roaming streets of Udaipur city

Roaming streets of Udaipur city

Udaipur city

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KalaCafe deals in exclusive interior|exterior decors, art installations, custom designs of authentic Indian art forms like miniature art, terracotta works, batik, etc. – created by our highly experienced traditional artists and an in-house design team. We also organize workshops for art lovers who wish to learn new art forms from only the masters or none. Here, art aficionados get to stay with the artist gurus to learn and experience the process of creating the art form.

To buy authentic Indian art forms, visit us at http://www.kalacafe.com, or write to us on info@kalacafe.com

Follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thekalacafe for regular updates on products and events

Rajasthan Arts – Rolling in Terracotta works in Udaipur City

Rolling in Terracotta works near Udaipur City

Maru Potters – Kumhars have been engaged in the age old tradition of terracotta designs for years. Terracotta work tradition is 1500 to 1700 yrs old. The tradition is associated with creation of figurines for local deities – Dev Narayana Ji, Dharamraj Ji, etc. A lot of temples in Southern Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh replace their deity figurines regularly and that is when they visit Molela, near Udaipur city to purchase a new figurine. This tradition almost equivalent of a huge celebration is followed mostly by the tribes of these regions. Traditional terracotta designs with detailed mythological stories – Ramayan, Mahabharta, etc, are materpiece works by these potters.

There is something very peculiar about this art form, they are all hollow. This helps in creating light weight art pieces, prevent cracks in the forms and also uses less clay which is a scarce raw material in any case these days with most of it getting consumed in brick kilns.

Hollow pieces of terracotta

To make the final frame, small parts are composed which are then pasted onto the main frame.Small portions of a composition are made from clay and dung mix using wooden and iron tools.Tools for creating terracotta clay potteryThe small compositions are then pasted onto the main frame.After drying it for 6-7 days, it is kept in sun for 2-3 days and then loaded in a furnace in standing position for 4-5 hours to heat at temperatures  of around 600-700 degree.Most of the work is carried out in winters since they are conducive to proper drying of works helping in minimal cracks. Summers lead to cracks in bigger pieces of art work. In order to color the art pieces, natural/ artificial colors are used.

Terracotta pottery

Terracotta pottery  - Warli Tribal

Terracotta pottery

Here are some of the clicks of art form and the village around.

Baby buffalo in the village house - Terracotta

Beautiful architecture and work in village homes - Terracotta

Happy old village man

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KalaCafe deals in exclusive interior|exterior decors, art installations, custom designs of authentic Indian art forms like miniature art, terracotta works, batik, etc. – created by our highly experienced traditional artists and an in-house design team. We also organize workshops for art lovers who wish to learn new art forms from only the masters or none. Here, art aficionados get to stay with the artist gurus to learn and experience the process of creating the art piece.

To buy authentic Indian art forms, visit us at http://www.kalacafe.com, or write to us on info@kalacafe.com

Follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thekalacafe for regular updates on products and events

Rajasthan Arts – Batik Painting in Udaipur City

Batik Arts of Udaipur City

The process of generating this art form involves a lot of patience and skill. It takes months to create one piece of art form.  Immense imagination and talent goes into composing the artwork over these months.

Batik india

Batik on global warming

On a piece of cloth(usually pure Bangalorean silk/ cotton), different shades of colors are given using wax (beeswax/ paraffin) textures. Hence, color combinations need to be thought about beforehand. We saw interesting batiks – a phad painting of Pabuji (the local deity) – paintings on cloth produced mainly in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, had been created using batik printing. Batik is a medium and a strong one indeed to express social causes apart from beautiful designs. Did you know that batik prints can be also be designed on eggs?!

Do get us to design a customized batik print for you, contact us on http://www.facebook.com/thekalacafe or write to us on info@kalacafe.com

Batik - Krishna with his flute

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KalaCafe deals in exclusive interior|exterior decors, art installations, custom designs of authentic Indian art forms like miniature art, terracotta works, batik, etc. – created by our highly experienced traditional artists and an in-house design team. We also organize workshops for art lovers who wish to learn new art forms from only the masters or none. Here, art aficionados get to stay with the artist gurus to learn and experience the process of creating the art form.

To buy authentic Indian art forms, visit us at http://www.kalacafe.com, or write to us on info@kalacafe.com

Follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thekalacafe for regular updates on products and events