Copper bells from Jhura in Kutch. Pen stands and desk accessories with traditional inlay work known as Marquetry of Surat.
Embroidered file covers and folders
File covers and folders made from a variety of fabrics and embroideries. Telephone index books, spectacle covers, pass books, writing pads, weekly planners. A range of desk utilities, cloth bound in the entire ethnic fabric range.
Wall hanging (Bead work)
Beadwork is another Gujarati specialty. Motifs and patterns are dictated by the technique of putting two and three beads together. Beadwork objects are used in wall decorations, potholders, etc. The best beadwork is produced by the kathis (tribals). Worked mostly on a white background they use colours that are vibrant with very distinct patterns. Beadwork torans (welcoming friezes) are usually suspended over doorways.
Mashru, a mixed fabric, woven with a combination of cotton and silk, was essentially for the use of Muslim men as there was a prohibition on them wearing pure silk. Weaving traditions prevalent in Iraq and the Arab countries may have influenced the tradition of mashru.
Mashru was woven all over India, though it survives today only in Gujarat. It often combines ikat patterns in stripes, along with woven patterns, through the introduction of extra warp threads, or by the depression of the warp threads, and is woven on a pit loom. Today Patan is one of the most important centres where mashru is woven.
Dhamadka & Ajrakh
The intricate art of printing fabrics using wooden blocks thrives in the riverside town of Jetpur, midway Gondal and Junagadh, and earns valuable foreign exchange along side the more modern screen-printing workshops. Wood is cut and flattened into blocks ranging from around 1 ½ " to 3" thickness, pin pricked with the outline of the design to be transferred to the fabric and finally minutely carved by chiseling. Next, the colours are separated to fill the niches, and the Chhipa or Khatri expertly runs the block along the length and breadth of the fabric.
Dhamadka block prints - Ajrakh Prints
The dyed fabric is then fixed in river Gondali and kept to dry. Kutch also specializes in block printing, and vegetable dyes, paraffin wax resist, patricate-printing material. Bright ajrakh prints are still used though now synthetic dyes and modern techniques have been adopted. Dhamadka are block prints that derive their name from the village of origin, well known for its river water that brightens the colours. A range of contrasting maroons, yellows, blues and reds with patterns generated through tiny dots.
Bandhani (Tie and Dye) Fabric
The tie-dyed fabrics of Gujarat are perhaps the best produced in India. Also known as Bandhej, it is produced on superfine cotton mulmul, muslin sometimes combined with gold checks and motifs worked in the jamdani technique. The highest intensity of Bandhini dyeing is in Kutch, but some of the best works are from Jamnagar and Saurashtra, on the Southern coast of Gulf of Kutch. The printed portion of the fabric are pinched and pushed into small points and then knotted with 2 or 3 twists of thread. The knotted parts remain uncoloured and the fabric is dyed in the lightest shade first, retied and dyed in the darker colour. The fabric may be tied and dyed several times, depending on the number of shades in the final colour scheme. The price of the bandhini depends not only on the fabric, but also on the number of times it has to be tied and dyed and the intricacy of the design. Bandhini sarees are easily available in all the bazaars and shopping centres of Jamnagar and here you can also find them brocaded with fine gold thread zaris.
Dress materials in a variety of embroidery styles- Garments
Salwars, kurtas, ghaghras, cholis, odhanis, skirts and jackets are some of the garments available. Each of these garments is created from authentic hand block-printed material, imaginatively embellished with appliqué patterns and embroidery, collected from remote villages of Gujarat.
Patola weaving - Patola - The queen of Silks
The patola is one of the finest hand-woven sarees produced today. This is a specialty of Patan, and is famous for extremely delicate patterns woven with great precision and clarity. Besides Patan, Surat is acclaimed for velvets with patola patterns.
The salvi silk weavers from Maharashtra and Karnataka opted to make Gujarat the home of their renowned patola fabrics. The salvis are said to have arrived in Patan from Maharashtra and Karnataka in the 12th century to make the most of the patronage of the Solanki Rajputs, who then ruled all of Gujarats and parts of South Rajasthan and Malva with the capital at Anahilwad Patan. According to folklore, as many as 700 Patola weavers a company Raja Kumarapala to the palace of Patan, and the ruler himself wore a Patola silk robe on the occasion. After the fall of Solanki dynasty, the Salvis found patronage in the affluent Gujarati merchant, and the patola sarees soon became a status symbol with Gujarati girls and women especially as an important part of stridhan for the departing wedded daughter.
The patola of Patan is done in the double ikkat style, which is perhaps the most complicated of all textiles designs in the whole world. Each fabric consists of a series of warp threads and a single weft thread, which binds the warp threads together. Each one of the warp threads is tied and dyed according to the pattern of the saree, such that the knotted portions of the thread do not catch the colours. The result is not only a tremendous richness in colour of the fabric, but that both side of the saree look exactly alike, and can be worn either way. In fact except to an expert, a patola looks like a piece of silk fabric, printed on both sides in the same design. The weaving is done on simple traditional handlooms, and the dyes used are made from vegetable extracts and other natural colours, which are so fast that there is a Gujarati saying that "the patola will tear, but the colour will not fade." A patola saree takes 4 to 6 months to make, depending on how complicated the designs is and if the length is 5 or 6 metres, it can cause from Rs.50, 000/- to over Rs. 100,000/- a piece. Patan produces very intricate patterns worked with precision and clarity, with the characteristic geometric delineation of the design, while maintaining the soft hazy outlines, a natural effect of the technique. In an area called Sadvi Wada you can watch the complex weaving of silk patola saris, once the preferred garment of queens and aristocrats, and now made by just one family.
There were four distinct styles in the patolas woven originally in Gujarat by the Salvi community. The double ikat sarees with all over patterns of flowers, parrots, dancing figures and elephants were used by the Jains and Hindus. For the Muslim Vora community special sarees with geometric and floral designs were woven for use during weddings. There were also the sarees woven for the Maharashtrian Brahmins with a plain, dark-coloured body and borders with women and birds, called the Nari Kunj. There was a cloth specially woven for the traditional export markets in the Far East.
Arts & Crafts
Gujarat, a land so ancient, both in history and culture, cannot but have had a very rich cultural life. The crafts of Gujarat that have survived to date bear ample proof of this. Gujarat's handicrafts and textiles reflect a love for colour, an eye for detail and form and the innately artistic personality of the Gujaratis.