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