Classy crochet

Handicraft

Classy crochet

Beautiful beaches, exciting festivals, scrumptious food and a lot more fascinating features make Goa a popular destination.

Moreover, an array of local handicrafts adds much vibrancy to its rich culture, especially the tradition of crochet.

It is a skill the fishing community is bestowed with and is successfully practising and promoting for generations.

Although crochet is believed to be a local art of this coastal region, it is said the skill came as a gift to the locals from the Portuguese settlers.

Studies carried out to trace the origin of crochet in the region take us much back in time, to around 15th century, when Portuguese came here for trade. It is hinted that missionaries could be the ones who actually passed on the skill of crochet and thread embroidery to the locals, along with other ethnic and cultural attributes.

The word crochet is basically a French word, meaning hook. This can be related to the fact that a hooked needle is used for making patterns in crochet using threads of different types. It is inferred that the craft is taken up naturally by Goan women, as their indigenous talent for net making provides a good foundation to take up the skill.

The intricate patterns of crochet are usually displayed through items of domestic use like table cloth, handbags, hankies, bed covers, cushion covers, wall hangings, etc. Besides, it is broadly used for enhancing the beauty of women’s attire.

Crochet work is popularly used on scarves and as borders for dresses and footwear. It is a trend that has not lost its beauty despite the availability of myriad kinds of machine embroidery. The designs, mainly floral, are broadly categorised as Chetpani and Athakupani,where the former is said to be simple whereas the latter is complex, combining multiple colours and patterns.

The popularity of the craft can be judged from the fact that it is considered as one of the essential skills any girl must know. It is not surprising to find tastefully done pieces of crochet in a bride’s dowry, which is an accepted custom and conveys a statement about her expertise in making the traditional handicraft.

Goa provides a platform for dedicated artisans to showcase their talent and popularise their craftsmanship. For many, it is a means to eke out a living. Passing down their skills to succeeding generation is the only way through which the craftsmen have ensured it is kept alive.

Many centuries ago, it was  introduced to the locals as a novelty by visiting foreigners, but now, Goa tops the list when it comes to crochet work in India. It is said the art has been a part of the handicraft industry for about 300 to 400 years. Other than Goa, Gujarat  and Narsapur in Andhra Pradesh are known for fine crochet work.

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