Govindbhai ✿ Keri classic


3 September 2021

LOkesh Ghai presents a keri motif, a Western Indian version of paisley, by master block carver, Govindbhai.

In Western India, the paisley motif is referred to as keri, denoting the mango as a symbol of fertility. The impression on the paper is of a hand block print. This wooden block was carved by the Master carver, Govindbhai Prajapati, to stamp on fabric (with natural or synthetic dyes) as a border for sarees or bedsheets.

A set of four blocks is carved to achieve the design. There is a block for each colour. The black outline (rekh) is the most detailed. The rest of the colours are filling.

A trader from Mumbai commissioned this design some 40 years ago. According to Govindbhai, the print was a great success in the market. Later there was a request by a buyer to adapt the design as a block that imitates the craft of bandhani, tie-dye. This instruction is written on the right of the design with words bandni karvi in Gujrati.

Govindbhai is 74 years old. He has hand-carved over 10,000 designs in his lifetime. He is semi-retired now. He has passed his craft to his son Satishbhai who due to the scarcity of work juggles as a property agent and block maker.

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