Kharadi community are famous for sturdy pieces of furniture which are equivalent to the furniture and exquisite pieces of art. This furniture’s are designed by artisans that belong to Kharadi community. These pieces of furniture are renowned for their grand, hand painted motifs.
Initially, there are small objects were made like rolling pins, bangle stands. But now it has evolved into dining table, swings and sofa sets. Sankheda furniture is considered Auspicious. It is being used in religious; festive occasions. This furniture is in high demand in wedding season in Gujarat. Wall hangings, lamps, cases, toys are made previously. Swings are popular furniture as it is suited to hot and humid climate regions likes of Gujarat. There is large quantity of traditional furniture being brought during this time. Even today, the bride and groom chairs are used in wedding.
These are gifts given during marriages in Gujarati community. The bride family gifts this furniture during the wedding to help fill up her new home. This furniture is considered as gold. Baby cradle is believed to be favourite furniture item and it is considering as heirloom furniture within the community. It is being passed through generations. This cradle is must have for new babies in Gujarati families. This craft is used for generations and considered as pure. The craft has collected a deep sense of collective identity amongst the craftsmen. This furniture involved different skills and many craftsmen are involves in the piece production.
The furniture is painted in traditional, very vivid colours like shades of maroon its gold. With different colour combination, one can see different shades of black, burgundy, copper, ivory, silver etc. The material used in these art pieces are expensive and designs, such as dragon fighting demons, suggests that many art pieces were specially commissioned by royal members. The designs are divided into two parts.
Ornamental Lacquering- The plain acquiring comprises rings and bands of various colours. This is considered one of the most Ancient designs which are fond on this furniture. Whereas in the ornamental lacquering, detailed motifs like creepers, folk designs, geometric designs are done. There are different popular motifs. Peacock, mind, jail, talks birds, animals and leaves the artisans experiment with contemporary designs with consumer’s demand. The colours and motifs the colours and motifs used here, also hold an auspicious significance
It has become increasingly popular in international markets, most notably in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Australia. The craft today has become modernized with motorized machines to turn the lathe and the use of synthetic colours and melamine coating. Over time, craftsmen began to use synthetic colours in their designs. These colours were not naturally grown in their region, so they used it to elevate the product. Sankheda is considered especially sacred to the Gujarati communities due to the usage of natural ingredients. However, natural lacquer is being replaced by materials such as melamine, which do not give the same shine as the traditional pieces. Despite the changes in colours, mode of production and materials, the design and symbols have remained unchanged. Also, the promotion of Gujarat tourism has benefited the craft, since its awareness has increased amongst the tourists and its demand has flourished. Its price increases depending on the intricacy of the design. This also results in high prices of the products. The artisans also started producing products that were lower in price, so that everyone could afford it. Some of these included wall pieces, rolling pins, toys. These also need less time, raw material and are very popular amongst the locals and even the tourist who also buy them as souvenirs. The agencies like Gar vi Gujarat (Gujarat state handicraft and hand loom development corporation limited) were invaluable in early years and played a significant role in the sale of the Ranked furniture. Even though the artisans are illiterate, they make sure their kids get formal education. This helps them in dealing with the clients and in promoting the craft as well.