Phulkari is a type of embroidery, which the Punjabi women undertake to utilize their leisure time. This embroidery requires a lot of skill and time. It is a traditional craft of Punjab and best exemplifies the Punjabi folk art. It is a spectacular design, which is made through horizontal, vertical and diagonal stitches. In Phulkari the whole cloth is covered with intricate embroidery leaving no space untouched. Today, phulkari has attained a commercial proportion and has moved away from the geometrical style and has stylized flowers, animals, birds, jewellery pattern etc. The cloth is generally red or maroon in colour and the silk threads used for the embroidery are gold, yellow, crimson red, blue and green colours.
Several places in Punjab like Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bhera are known for carvings on wood and making designer furniture. Craftsmen are adept at making contemporary and period furniture. Hoshiarpur in Punjab specializes in wood inlay. The range of inlay articles produced in the region includes tabletops, teapots, trays, table legs, screens, bowls, cigarette cases and chessboards. The designs represent the traditional Moghul variety with emphasis on flora, fauna and geometrical patterns. For wood inlay mainly sisum wood is used and occasionally black wood is used.
Pidhis are low four legged woven stools mainly made in Kartarpur, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur. The pidhis are first carved out of wood and then covered with lacquer and woven with different coloured threads. Other lacquer ware products of Punjab include traditional lacquered furniture with classic designs. The work here is in the nakashi style.
Girls in Punjab learn weaving at a young age and they specially make durries at this age. Durries are a pile less cotton spread, which can be used on a bed or on the floor. They are woven in different sizes in different designs, which range from geometrical patterns, animals, birds, leaves and flowers. Carpet weaving has not developed on a large scale as weaving of durries. Mani Majra outside Chandigarh makes distinctive textures and designs. Bathinda makes durries from a plant whose fibre has a very different texture.
Attractive leatherwork is also a craft in Punjab. Rich gold and multi coloured threads are used to embellish and lend a tinge of royalty to the jootis, which are made from leather of different shades. Muktsar near Faridkot is well known for jootis. There one can find jootis embellished with zari (gold thread), salma and tilla.
Parandis are another form of Punjab handicraft, which are the testaments of refined craftworks of the artisans. These come is various hues and designs and are available everywhere in the state. However best varieties of Parandis can be found in Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Nikodar, Amritsar, Jalandhar.
Dolls of Punjab have also garnered much popularity, especially the Punjabi bride and the bhangra (a lively fold dance) dolls. These are adorned with vibrant colours and are dressed in beautiful attires. Chandigarh is known to be the most important centre of doll making.
Mud works of Punjab further add to the dexterity of the craftsmen of Punjab. Mud works turn the dull materials into masterpieces of art. Plastering of walls with mud and thereby drawing charming motifs on them has become a popular practice in the state.
Embroidery is mostly practiced by the women of Punjab which exhibit a number of gorgeous motifs and designs adorning various artefacts. Needle work is known to be excellent in Punjab and depiction of wonderful aspects of life through embroidery is the testament of the sheer artistic excellence. Duppattas, chunnis, shirts, salwars, jackets and other articles are woven and richly adorned with embroideries in Punjab.
Paintings of Punjab are another admirable craftwork which deserves special mention. Mural paintings and frescos are showcases spectacular beauty. Such paintings are mainly done on gates, ceilings or walls.
Folk toys of Punjab show blends of artistry and social values. The earliest examples of these crafts can be traced back to the time of Indus Valley Civilization. Starting from numerous forms of terracotta toys, this craft has greatly evolved over time to present some of the exquisite pieces of artwork.
Basketry is practiced in several parts of Punjab since time immemorial. Mostly the women in villages are involved in this craft which serves as a source of employment for them. Initially baskets were made solely for household purposes but with time their utility diversified and aesthetic value increased.
Other Crafts of Punjab
Apart from these, other crafts of Punjab include Metalwork, Papier Mache, Sarcanda (a kind of tough and thick elastic grass), Chhaj, Moorras and many others.