A Kaleidoscopic Craft
Lac, a material taken from insect resin, has been used in Indian craft for centuries. Coloured lacquer is applied to wood by heat through turning with a hand lathe. In the process, the artisan maneuvers the lacquered colors to create patterns by hand in kaleidoscopic designs. This form of lacquered patterning is found only in Kachchh.
Process of Lacquer craft
The Vadhas are a nomadic community that moved throughout Kachchh through villages like Nirona and Jura. They collected natural stones and colors from forests, created lacquer goods, and bartered them with the Maldhari community, who they had close ties with.
The Vadha community living in Nirona
The descendants of these Vadha artisans now are permanently settled in Kachchhi villages. There are only a few traditional lacquer artisan families continuing the craft in Kachchh, and they are challenged socioeconomically. Now, they depend on the tourist market for seasonal sales, and buy their natural resources on the open market rather than finding them in the environment.
Lacquer Woodwork tools
The challenge for Khamir of working with the Vadha community involves the need for a deeper social engagement involving socio-economic and education support. That being said, Khamir is currently working in a number of ways to sustain the lacquer craft. During the non-tourist months Khamir stocks lacquer for trade, offers trainings, procures raw materials for them, and aids in health related issues.