Jawaja Leather: The beauty of hand stiched Leather

Jawaja leather is a flourishing craft, with its unique identity and style, and is becoming known across the world.

The beauty of Jawaja leather work is the evenly stitched leather strips instead of threads. Two layers of leather are first stuck together and then stitched by punching holes with awls, or large needle like tools, and leather strips are made to pass through the layers, binding them together. The leather stitches have a characteristic diamond shape that adds to the understated elegance of these leather products.

Traditionally, the Raigar community, the leather workers 
of this region, used to make and repair jutti, footwear, harnesses and charas, bags for pulling water out of wells. With industrialisation, the advent of newer materials and mass production, the craftsmen were forced to initiate a new product range catering to a hitherto untapped urban market.

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From processing of raw skins to the finishing of the product, every process is done without the use of any machines, in the houses of the craftsmen. The use of new techniques considerably reduced the odour of leather while it is prepared; therefore the craftsmen are able to work at their homes from start to finish.

The hides, are bought at the leather mandi at the Beawar bypass and soaked in fresh water. It is later soaked in a solution of brine and the sap of a small green plant called aakh so as to facilitate the scraping off of excess skin (chilai) and the hair with broad and blunt edged knives respectively.

The hides are stitched at the edges with a local grass, known as moonj and then are tanned in pits or bags using the tannin of the bark of the babul tree. Before it is used, leather is cleansed and stretched; only then is it cut according to cardboard patterns and stitched with thick cotton yarn or thin leather strips.

The beauty of Jawaja leather work is that it is not just handcrafted from start to finish, the leather products are even stitched with leather strips instead of threads. Two layers of leather are first stuck together and then stitched by punching holes with awls, or large needle like tools, and leather strips are made to pass through the layers, binding them together. The leather stitches have a characteristic diamond shape that adds to the understated elegance of these leather products.

A variety of braiding and knotting techniques as well as brass rivets are used as functional and decorative jointing techniques; the leather may also be coloured, glazed, punched, embossed or branded.

New products have been developed in Jawaja from cow and buffalo leather. Bags with a highly restrained sense of decoration uses the texture of leather thongs over a burnished leather surface. The idea is to represent a new design direction that provides continuity to a traditional craft.

 

One comment

  1. The products are exquisite to say the least; made with artistic passion that has seasoned through generations of tradition and heritage

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