All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association
all india artisans and craftworkers welfare association
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Lac Bangles

The Craft

Lac bangles are made plain or with lehariya designs on them or studded with glass, precious and semi-precious stones. In handicrafts the use of lac is well known in making jewellery, lacquer toys, and furniture. Lac bangles are considered a sign of good omen and are worn by married women on all auspicious occasions in Gujarat and Rajasthan; red and green are the traditional colors. Lac is a resinous substance secreted by an insect called kerria lacca, and is the source of resin, wax, and dye. Lac is available in different qualities – dark black, brown, and light golden – the latter being the best and most expensive. India is one of the largest producers of lac and its principal exporter. Ayurveda stresses the importance of lac in medical therapies, and it is widely used in food processing, textile, leather, cosmetics, varnish, and printing industries. Bio-degradable and eco-friendly, lac is becoming highly popular.

Who practices this craft?

The lac itself is collected from forests in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal, and Assam. The most popular lac bangles are made in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Hyderabad, and Bihar. Lakhera or laheri is the hereditary artisan community of Hindus involved in lac bangle making. Lac bangles are also worn by Hindus. In Rajasthan lac bangles are made by Muslims and worn by Hindus.

What materials and tools are used in this craft?

Tools: Angethi (coal burner with flat steel plates), kadai (shallow vessel), wooden rod, stone piece, hattha for pressing and shaping lac, iron bangles for sizing, tin foil, khali (round wooden rod for shaping bangles), cutter, tool for picking sequins, haddi (bone shaped wooden tool);

Materials: Chapdi (black lac), Orange chapdi (light golden lac), Beroza, Giya pathar powder, Coal, Sequins, Semi-precious stones, Powdered colors including pevdi (yellow), Safeda (lithophone), Mirgam (copper), Green, Chamki (gold).

What is the Craft process?

Collecting Lac
The insect hosts itself on the branches of certain trees (kusum and papal) and forms a red encrustation around it. The coated branches are cut and the material obtained is washed to remove all impurities.

Melting
Lac pieces are melted to a semi-molten state in a kadai. Beroza, giya pathar powder, and color are added, and the mixture is stirred continuously. The coloured lac is put on the end of a wooden stick.

Coloring
The lac (without pigment) stuck around a wooden rod is heated slowly over the angethi. It is pressed with a stone or a wooden tool called hattha at regular intervals. When it is sufficiently warm and soft, it is wrapped with the desired color by rubbing the colored lac stick on it evenly. For this purpose the colored lac stick also has to be warm. After the color has been applied to the lac base it is shaped into a thin coil with the help of hattha and cut off from the plain lac rod.

Forming
The coil is heated over the burner so that the ends can be joined together to form a bangle. It is then slipped through a round wooden beam with a tapered end, adjusted for size. The bangle is ready to be embellished with sequins, semi-precious stones, and other decorations. The sequins are placed on tin foil and heated. They are warmed in order to melt the lac surface on which they are placed, staying there upon solidification. The process requires great precision, and takes a long time when working with small sequins.

Product categories made with Lac Bangles
Decore, Table, Storage, Jewellery, Desk Accessories

Lac Bangles Extended Documentation

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