Kutch was an unpredictable trip. I was fascinated with the idea of vast salt lands drenched in moonlight with the pleasant breeze of mild winters. While I did manage to experience the beauty, I was in for a surprise. With increasing marketing of Kutch tourism over the years, the place was flooded with tourists, luxury tents and innumerable handicraft shops selling similar popular products.
And the entry to the open lands was closed before midnight. So it wasn’t really a peaceful trip I had hoped for. However, I found something else more interesting. The art and craft of Kutch.
I met a few artists through the journey. Some were unplanned encounters, some recommended by our local driver and a part of popular Kutch travel itinerary. These artists and their art stayed with me.
We met a popular local artist who lives with limited means but practices his art with dedication. He sells his creations across the country through various exhibitions. His family helps him with pottery. While he mainly works on creating the items, other members of the family prepare the clay and paints the final products with delicate designs in black and white colors.
We met a family preserving the unique Rogan art. The art form is preserved by the family and kept within the family. The new generations continue to learn and join hands with their elders to make exquisite pieces of hand painted creations. Their most popular work is the tree of life in various vibrant colors. Our favourite moment spent with them was when he demonstrated a small flower motif using Rogan art.
The geometric patterns printed through wooden blocks are popular fabric designs in India but I didn’t know how and where they are made. We made an unplanned visit to this workshop on our way to another destination. It was late evening and there wasn’t enough time to sit chatting with the artists. But we managed to take a quick tour of the place. I almost felt dizzy looking at the fabric spread on long wooden tables with repeated prints.