“A Patan Patola may tear over time, but it will never lose its colour.”
India has a blend of vibrant artistic states and Gujarat is one of them. The famous handicrafts of Gujarat are a prime example of it.
Almost every district of Gujarat specialises in different forms of art. As a result, art and craft play a significant part in the lives of Gujarati people.
Arts of any state or city is a shadow of its own culture. Gujarat is not only rich in its culture but also in a tradition. Therefore, its handmade products stand out famously in India and across the world.
From hand embroidery to hand painting Gujarati handicrafts are making a noticeable presence on the world map.
Above all the combination of elegance and vibrancy is an essence of all the Gujarati handmade items.
Here are the famous handicrafts of Gujarat, which reflect the culture and traditions of the state.
Beadwork is an integral part of Gujarati crafting. Gujarat is at the core of bead craft. It is known as ‘Moti Bharat,’ in other words ‘Bead India.’
The origin of this artwork is Saurashtra and Khambhat, two districts of Gujarat. Bead craft is the art of making traditional decorative products with beads.
Counting as one of India’s oldest crafts, it has always had demand.
This artwork includes a wall piece, cushion covers, plate cover, jug covers, vase, table mats, and many more items.
Nylon thread is significantly used to make the bead craft. The nylon thread is strong enough to hold the beads properly.
Moreover, this craft uses a technique of joining two or three beads together in creating the products.
Bandhani, Bandhej or tie-dye is a traditional Gujarati clothing style. It is a special dyeing technique to produce a design on a cloth.
The best Bandhani is produced in Kutch regions of Gujarat. Moreover, Bandhej garbs are made in many styles and patterns, also each one is different from others.
The word Bandhani comes from ‘Bandhan’ which means tying up. Thus, Gujarati brides wear a ‘Bandhani’ dupatta or outfit on their wedding day.
From a traditional perspective, women belonging to the state will also dress in Bandhani attire, with men wearing a Bandhani turban.
Bandhani saree and dupatta are most in-demand and become famous handicraft all over the world. Megha Tak expressed her feelings while watching the dyeing process of Bandhani in her blog story:
“It was amazing to see that the uncovered waste lines on both sides of the road were flowing with colored water.”
Woodwork is a popular hand skill of Gujarat. People from Gujarat love using wooden items to adorn their homes, rooms, and other places.
Woodwork provides a traditional style of richness to such spaces.
District Bhavnagar is a hub for Gujarati woodwork. Woodwork craft is a classic combination of opulency and perfection.
Most noteworthy, ‘sandli’ (sandalwood) woodcraft of Surat, Gujarat has its own place in the hearts of people. It takes years of experience to carpet delicate ‘sandli’ articles with state of the art designs.
The craft includes photo frames, porch wing, bridal chest, jewelry chest, serving spoon, and furniture. Handcrafted wooden stuff of Gujarat is loved nationally and internationally.
From furniture to small decorative items Gujarati woodwork is wonderfully holding its place in the state.
Using a thread to do embroidery, Zari is a decorative element of textiles. Zari work plays an important part in Indian bridal dresses.
The thread work is from Surat, Gujarat. These shimmery threads are used to make intricate yet fine designs.
The thread comes in three colours such as golden, silver and copper, which all look elegant when used in embroidery.
According to historians, the fashion of Zari began in the Mughal era. It was also the preferred fabric for the Mughal dressmakers to create royal outfits.
The most well known Zari embroideries are ‘Salama,’ ‘Katori,’ ‘Tiki,’ ‘Chalak’ and ‘Kangari’.
Zari embroidery is famously used for both men and women clothing. Hence, the work is practicing across India.
Patola is a woven saree made by the dyeing technique of double ‘ikat.’ These handmade sarees are very expensive and used to be worn by royal families.
The Patola artwork is a native of Patan, Gujarat. It approximately takes six months to one year for creating one saree. The reason behind its demand is the dyeing process, which takes a long time.
With its fine intricacy and wonderful colouring, the saree has become renowned in Indonesia, with local weaving becoming a tradition there.
There are only three families in Patan, who make this rich and famous handicraft. It is said that the technique of this handiwork is only taught to sons in the family.
Whilst showing a 200-years-old saree during a colloquium in Dubai, Patola weaver Rahul Vinayak Salvi said”
“A Patan Patola may tear over time, but it will never lose its colour.”
Clay work is an ancient Indian tradition. Gujarat is known for its terracotta clay work.
Earlier the ladies of Kutch district used to embellish their homes with terracotta clay with hands. ‘Lippan Kaam’ (clay art form) is another name of the art, it also means adorning things with hands.
One can model wet clay into any shape and size according to the planned design.
The techniques of clay craft are inspired by familiar embroidery patterns and designs. Once the craft is done, it takes three to five days to dry off.
The art designs are usually seen in traditional forms like a peacock, camel, mango tree, flowers, women, brides and many more.
The art produces decorative and traditional items such as plates, bowls, handis, lanterns, wall piece, and sculptures.
Most importantly, the decorative products of this art form offer subtle beauty to space.
The Leather Handcraft of Gujarat is a striking skill in India. Kutch regions are the origin of leathercraft.
The leather items in Gujarat are mostly produced by the Meghwal community. Bhujodi village is famous for the leather handicrafts.
This wonderful craft, which goes back in time continues to survive during the modern era with its strong impact. Subject to the demand for an era, leathercraft is primarily used to produce saddles, armors, shields, and swords.
In contemporary time, wonderful items made with leather include footwear, bags, cushion covers, and artifacts. One can see the leather handmade items in beautiful colours and embroideries.
Narsi Bhai Bijlani who was the master of this craft moved from Pakistan to Gujarat after partition.
Hand Block Printing
Hand Block Printing is a historical Gujarati craft. Gujarat is the oldest and biggest centre for this artwork.
Each design of the blocks has a traditional approach. Flowers, leaves, stems, and trees are the most common designs of this art.
The different designs belong to different states of Gujarat. These include ‘Vegetable’ print from Kutch and Desa, ‘Batik’ prints from Bhujpur and ‘Saudagiri’ prints from villages of Kutch region.
This hand skill simply reveals the cultural and traditional value of India.
The products made with Hand Block Printing include ladies suits, men’s kurta, bed sheets, pillow covers, and wall decorative pieces.
Dr. Eiluned Edwards, of Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art & Design, talked about ‘Block Printing’ during an exhibition saying.
“Until recently block prints were key components of caste dress, reflecting regional affiliation, occupational and religious identity, social and even economic status.”
Patchwork and Applique
Patchwork and Applique are stitching techniques for creating an embroidered piece of cloth.
Banaskantha district Gujarat is famous for this craft. Kutch is the origin of Patchwork and Applique art.
The art of making embroidered pieces and assembling them on a cloth might sound easy but it takes an artistic sense to create each piece.
Dark coloured threads, beads, mirrors and other adornments are important aspects of Patchwork and Applique.
Door and wall hangings are the most in-demand items of this craft.
Above all, an artistic fact about this artwork is that once the patches are assembled on the fabric, they tend not to sag or get wrinkled.
Tangaliya Work or Daana weaving specialises in shawls and creating textiles for dress material.
Dangassia is the native community of Gujarat who began this craft 700 years back. Surendranagar district of Gujarat is the home of Tangaliya Work.
Tangaliya shawls are one of the most famous crafts of Gujarat. The complex process of extra twisting to create gematrical patterns makes it more special.
Colourful dots, which are simultaneously made on both ends of a shawl is the soul of Tangaliya Work. The handwoven technique is used to make a fabric or shawl, by using different coloured threads.
The ‘Tangalia’ material includes home decore pieces and ladies clothing.
This handicraft speaks volumes about its perfection across the world.
Rogan Painting or ‘Rogan Printing’ captures the true spirit of cultural India. The Khatri community of Kutch regions are famos for this art.
Although it derives from Iran, Gujarat is leading the way for Rogan Painting in India. Niruna village in the Bhuj district is the mainspring of a Rogan handcraft.
Made on textile, it is a painting, which uses a special brush to get the right perfection. Therefore, the paintings take a level of mastery to come up with such brilliant work.
The paint is made with castor oil and natural colours from vegetables or flowers. It takes a couple of days for the paint turning into a paste to make the crafts.
Rogan painting artist Abdul Gaffoor Khatri, states his experience working on a piece:
“Every piece requires long hours, patience and effort to make that beautiful product.”
Rabari Embroidery has deep roots to the Kutch regions of Gujarat.
Women from the Rabri community started this art and named it after their community. As women from the tribe used to love being vibrant, they created their own Rabari Embroidery clothes.
Dhebar and Kachchi are the most common types of Rabri Embroidery.
Rabari Embroidery has been evolving around for centuries, extending as a modern-day craft because of its distinctive designs.
The embroidery has elements of striking hues, little mirrors and aesthetic detailing in every item. This handiwork has its place almost in each and every part of the world.
Furthermore, the technique of this art has preserved its essence for generations.
Khavda Pottery Craft
Khavda Pottery Craft is from North Kutch, Gujarat. Earlier people used to make domestic items such as cooking pots, plates, castles and so forth.
It is said men bring mud from the lakeside and give it a shape. Then, ladies do all the decorations on it.
Since then the art of earthenware is living in the lives of people, especially in India. The craft also has held a remarkable position from the times of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
In India, people still use pottery products significantly. Diya, pots, vases, and other showpieces are popular pottery handicrafts.
Most noteworthy, people say that a pot keeps the water cold normally and is good for health.
Embroidery Work of Gujarat carries its own uniqueness. It is one of the most famous handicrafts across the world.
The origin of this artwork is the Kutch regions. Foreigners in India love to buy Gujarati embroidery stuff.
The handiwork is made from multicoloured threads, beads, and small mirrors. The artisans have a wide range of stitches and styles to adorn the products.
The most used stitching pattern is herringbone. This Gujarati handwork includes handbags, clutches, clothes, wall pieces, table mats, footwear, and cushion covers.
The embroidery is also popular for executing architectural designs, which are known as ‘Kheer Bharat.’ The stitches got this name from floss-silk, which is called ‘Kheer’ in India.
Ami Shroff, daughter to the grand old lady of Kutch, Chandaben Shroff, mentions what embroidery means to the Kutch region.
“Embroidery is not just a fashion trend in Kutch, it is the very fabric of this place.”
Home Decor Art
Home Decor Art of Gujarat is adored in the world. Foreigners who visit India love buying handmade decorative items.
As Gujarat is also a hub of arts and artisans, this handcraft is a vital part of the state.
Home Decor Art includes wall hanging, door hanging, wall piece, table cloths, cushion covers and much more. Ostentatious Gujarati handmade items are part of almost every house in India.
These home decor handicrafts are cheap yet give a refined look both to the interior and exterior.
Native, tribal and other communities are the reason behind Gujarati famous handicrafts. From designing items to clothing, the handiwork of Gujarat has played a key role in folk lives.
With no medium of interior designing and cloth decoration, people implemented their own style. Those styles have made their presence felt.
Famous handicrafts of Gujarat are standing young, despite existing for a long time.