Gujarat has always held a special place in my heart for the wealth of architecture, handloom and crafts that the state houses. From the intricate Kutchi embroidery to the unusual Rogan painting on fabric to the myrid colours of Bandhani and Ajrakh coming alive in the form of saris and duppatas… I had to add a piece of Gujarat to Zola India’s craft map soon.
My workshop took me to one end of Gujarat almost near Madhya Pradesh, to a little town called Chota Udaipur.
This little town and the Villages in and around Chota Udaipur are centers for many arts and crafts. The well known and highly ritualistic Pithora paintings done by the Rahwa community is created either to celebrate an auspicious occasion or call upon Pithora Baba to cure diseases. This well known mural artwork is created by mixing colours with liquor and milk.
Chota Udaipur is also known for its colourful bead work created by the women of the tribal communities here. This intricate bead work embroidery displays a unique aesthetic in myriad hues of reds, blues, greens, pinks and yellows with primarily white beads forming a base. They almost look water colors on a canvas from a distance.
Providing employment opportunities to the tribal women of Chota Udaipur, by preserving and nurturing their native talent, making them active earning members of their families, gives them the much needed voice and respect in the community. This embroidery is exclusive to Chota udaipur District, though other tribal areas also have their own versions. Having started with just about 10 artisans, today there are more than 400 trained women artisans, of whom about 250 work regularly.
We went to explore this beautiful craft over a five-day workshop full of colorful insights and some beautiful hand embroidered beaded jewellery.
Inspired by geometric, flora and fauna motifs of Gujarat’s Hindu, Islamic and Persian architecture, this beaded collection is an ode to the historical grandeur of this state’s handcrafted treasures.
From the sketching the design on a graph to counting each bead according to the design and finally embroidering the pattern on one side of the cloth, it takes between 3-5 days to complete a necklace or earring.
With each passing day the design comes alive… like a painting on canvas. At Zola India we enable rural artisans to express themselves through their craft and share their stories with the world in the form of wearable art.
“When you wear Zola, you wear a piece of history, culture and the innumerable stories of the artisans who create our jewelry. You wear a piece of earth.”