Lac Crafts of Gujarat
Gujarat nests some of the highly skilled craftsmen belonging to the tribal communities who make beautiful artefacts of lac. Tribal people of Nirona region of Kutch are adept in lac craft. Apart from tribal people, local artisans are also engaged in this activity. Exquisite lac crafts of Gujarat include wooden furniture covered with colourful lac. With the aid of a chisel beautiful and intricate designs are made on them. Sankheda, a small village in Baroda, is also a famous centre of lac crafts in Gujarat. Wooden articles are generally coated fully with lac or sometimes partially to highlight specific portions. Admirable household items of lac like utensils, trays, dishes, chairs, sofa sets, cutlery, flower pots, lamp stands etc are found in Banni region of Kutch. Surat is also well acclaimed for extraordinary lac furniture. Embellishment of lac crafts is done by various techniques. Designs on lac crafts are combinations of abstract paintings, floral and figurative patterns. Different dyes are used to confer vivid hues to the crafts. In Gujarat, lac crafts are deeply associated with cultural and religious rituals and beliefs. Since ages, the tradition of presenting lac articles to a bride is prevalent in this region. Lac crafts are also considered auspicious and are used in various religious ceremonies.
Lac Crafts of Goa
Goa is also famed for lac crafts among which lac jewelleries are the most renowned articles. Besides jewelleries, lac combs are also very popular here among women. The combs are often adorned with silver and gemstones and beautiful patterns engraved on them. The patterns include floral and figurative motifs.
Making of Lac Crafts
In western India, wood lacquering is the most common practice. Artefacts are usually made with country wood which is coated with fine quality of lac. The technique of coating follows the same procedure everywhere and involves coating flat or round surfaces of the artefacts with lac. After completion of the coating, dyes are used to colour them in vibrant shades. Intricate designs are made on them which are then painted with an emulsion formed by 'kalai' or tin. Polishing of these articles are done with 'akik', a hard stone, to confer glossy appearance. Sometimes another round of coating is done with transparent lacquer which is applied with the aid of a lacquer stick. Bright yellow or golden effect can be brought about with kalai work. The designs on these crafts include geometrical or figurative patterns and sometimes an amalgamation of both which is locally known as 'atishi'.
Although Lac Crafts of Western India have traditional values, they have also acquired a distinguished position in the modern fashion trends. The influences of various arts, modern as well as traditional, are quite evident in the lac crafts of this region. Since ancient times, the creativity of craftsmen has lent a variety of designs to make this craft more versatile. Owing to their popularity among the people of different cultural backgrounds; this industry has been growing since ages.
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