Jawaja Leather Work
Jawaja leather is a flourishing craft with its unique identity and style. 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; 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 in Rajasthan, used to make and repair jutti or footwear, harnesses and charas or 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. From processing of raw skins to the finishing of the product, every step of the 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 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. 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 colored, glazed, punched, embossed or branded.