Famous crafts in Goa
A land of blended cultures, the unison finds expression
in the art and crafts of Goa. While on a trip to Goa, its difficult to
resist temptation to buy souvenirs. One can see temples and churches
adorned with 'folk' paintings. These paintings usually depict scenes
from Mahabharata or Ramayana or the new testaments. The museums and
art galleries in Goa also carry numerous examples of the Goan art. And
not just the churches and the art galleries, you can catch glimpses of
how the Portuguese and Indian forms merge in humble house holds.
Among the crafts of Goa, there is no end. Its difficult to pick what is best, the exquisitely carved rosewood and teak furniture, the terracotta work or the 'visible everywhere' sea shells work. Even in today's Techno driven world, these hand made souvenirs look so inviting on the counters of shops.
The art and craft of Goa, like its culture has come out of a blend of Indo-Portuguese art forms. Capturing the fancy of Goans as well as tourists, Goa craft has won critical acclaim from the connoisseurs of the art world. Some prominent crafts forms in Goa are the bamboo craft, woodcarving, brass metals, sea shell crafts, paper mache and wooden lacquer ware.
Pottery And Terracotta
While pottery is art of traditional form made with earthen clay, terracotta is ceramic clay. These are the traditional crafts forms of Goa. Utility cum decorative items are made out of these such as flower garden pots, pen holders, ashtrays, bowls, statues of saints and goddesses. They also draw inspiration from religious or historical themes. Borde and Bicholim are two famous centres of earthenware, though pottery is made all over Goa.
Brass Metal Work
Brass items are very famous with tourists especially samais. This craft is available in plenty in the markets of Goa. Unlike utility items which are made from sheet metal, brass metal is a different thing. The craft is passed from one generation to another and practiced on heredity basis. Its used mainly for casting decorative items like oil lamps, church bells, candle stands, ashtrays and temple towers etc.
Laquerware / Wood turning
Wood turning is a form of woodcarving that is used to create wooden objects (e.g. a bowl or a table leg) on a lathe using cutting tools. Wood turning differs from most other forms of woodworking, here the wood is moving while a (relatively) stationary tool is used to cut and shape it. You will get cradles, baby carts, toys, corner stands, etc in Goa made by wood turning.
Crochet And Embroidery
The importance of crochet in Goa can be realized by the fact that every bride brings her crochet and embroidery work as dowry which is then displayed to demonstrate her expertise in the craft. Crochet and embroidery in Goa is inherent to every household where it is passed from one generation to another. Though the craft of crochet and embroidery has been in India since time immemorial but it came to Goa with the arrival of nuns and missionaries in fifteenth century. And thus started this tradition of crochet and embroidery in Goa which has only improved in quality and design since. The items made are hankies, table clothes, children and ladies garments, pillow and cushion covers and bed spreads etc.
Bamboo craft initially was more of a utility based thing where in 'mahras', a scheduled community made items required by farmers and fishermen. They made things to store food grains, sell fish. Many utility items made out of bamboo are still used in villages like baskets, valli and supli (for washing and cleaning rice) and dali used as floor cover or to dry food grains. With time this traditional craft has taken shape of decorative cum utility items. Different types of flower baskets, flower pots, letter stands, fans etc are some common items now sold.
Nuns from Kerela brought the fiber craft to Goa. Fiber articles were earlier produced for utility purposes. This craft comes in handy keeping in mind the changing living style. The function of fiber is combined with some ornamentation to bring out some attractive and colorful items. Shopping bags, ladies purses, coasters, wall hangings are made by some women organizations of Goa using banana or sisal fiber.