Basics Pillar of Lac bangles making process

Lac bangles making process by Aaroz and Company

Lac Bangles making process - Lac Bangles Double Ring Badal

Today we Learn about The Ancient Art of Lac Bangles making process.

We are in the making of Lac bangles for the last 200 years. Rajasthan is very famous for its traditional Lac Artistic Bangles.
Our aim is to breathe in the beauty of tradition yet constantly evolve and capture the sensibilities of a global woman.

EXTRACTION OF LAC

Picture First
The extraction of Lac is an age old ritual; one that makes sense when placing the origin of the resin - The Lac Bug - to its geographic placement in South Asia. These insects inhabit the branches of the Dhak (or Palash), and Kusum trees , located in the eastern pocket of India, making the cultivation of the lac secreted on these trees a staple in places such as Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh. The lac extracted varies upon the tree in question - Lac from the Dhak tree is more pigmented and waxy, whereas Lac from the Kusum tree is heavily priced for muted gold hues, and less wax.











Picture
Second
Encrusted branches are first scraped into dry shavings and accumulated. This is called Stick Lac.



















Picture
Third
Stick Lac is firstly broken up and cleaned to get rid of the debris such as insect shells, and tree bark. After the cleaning process, it is placed as ‘Seed Lac’, which is the second stage in its extraction. Seed Lac is usually sold in mass quantities to middlemen or factories, where it is further cleaned by hand to get rid of the remaining debris.

















Picture
Fourth
After being washed and dried, the lac is placed into rotating cloth bags facing an oven.



















Picture
Fifth
Even heating from the oven liquifies the lac, which is slowly dripped on thin paper sheets to form small discs of lac, known as Button Lac.

















Picture
Sixth
Is Button Lac the same as a Lac Coin? Well yes, but no; Lac Coins are simply Button Lacs that have been stamped with a seal of the manufacturer, thereby highlighting their authenticity and source. Ultimately this is the final form of lac that makes its way into hundreds of workshops across the Indian subcontinent (and beyond).
Lac Bangles making process - EXTRACTION OF LAC
Lac Bangles making process - EXTRACTION OF LAC
Lac Bangles making process - EXTRACTION OF LAC
Lac Bangles making process - EXTRACTION OF LAC
Lac Bangles making process - EXTRACTION OF LAC
Lac Bangles making process - EXTRACTION OF LAC
Lac Bangles making process - Raw material of lac bangles
We’re accustomed to seeing Lac Bangles neatly packed and presented, ever so often in market stalls, in cardboard boxes during the festive seasons, the list goes on.

Lac bangles however aren’t as evidently straightforward in their craftsmanship as they may seem.
For starters, the extracted natural lac has to be processed and softened.

This requires the ‘Berja’, or Rosin to be added in, it is also continuously heated through coal.

Lac bangles can also lose their shape in the presence of heat, for this, the artisans use metal wires, usually iron, to maintain structure.

Finally, colors and embellishments are added to add life and bring forth the joyful spark that we are accustomed to expecting from the vibrant

The craftsmanship of Lac Bangle Making.
औ is for Auzaar/औज़ार/ToolsWhat are Auzaar/Tools? It refers to the required tools used for a ‘Kala’ or art form.The Lac-making process is extremely intense and, it requires some essential tools to process and give shape to the extracted lac. As a general rule, tools used in handling lac are typically made of heat insulators - such as wood for example, since working conditions have higher temperatures. This bit of careful design though ensures that the craftsmen’s hands aren’t burnt whilst working.There’s a huge variety of tools used in lac bangle making, however many of them are not ‘essential’ to making a lac bangle, but rather just surface-level improvements that have sprung up over time, to add embellishments and customize the end product. Further, we shall discuss some of these tools in this post, essential to the lac bangle-making process from Jaipur India.
Lac Bangles making process - Silla/Bhatti Lac making tool

Introducing our first tool.

सिल्ला और भट्टी / Silla & Bhatti
Two of the most important tools used in this craft, the Silla and Bhatti are two separate tools that are used together.
A ‘Bhatti’ is a metal container on which coal is burnt.
It’s about 25 x 30 inches in size, and the center of the tool features a holly cavity in which the coal is burnt.
A ‘Silla’ is a metal plate with an area of 30x 35 inches.
The metal used is iron usually, though sometimes some workspaces use a stone slab instead.
The Silla is placed over the Bhatti, usually propped up with bricks or pieces of stone for support.
The Silla becomes warm with the coal burning in the Bhatti below it, which enables artisans to use the warm place to process and shape lac into coils.
Lac Bangles making process - Sel lac bangles making tool 2nd

Our Second tool

सेल / Sel

A ‘Sel’ is quite straightforward. It is a cylindrical rod, made of wood that is used to give the bangle an even circular shape. Still warm, malleable, and soft thin coils of lac are run across the diameter of the sel, and set in place to give it the required shape.

The length of the tool is approximately 8 inches long, with the handle being 14 inches long. The diameter varies on the size of the bangle.
Lac Bangles making process - Patti lac bangles making tool third

Our Third Tool

पत्ती / Patti
A Patti is quite simple. It’s a sharp metal blade that is used to cut thin coils of lac.

The interesting thing about the design of this tool is that the handle is made of lac as well (covered in lac at least). The blade is usually around 3 inches long.
Lac Bangles making process - Rang lac bangle making tool

Fourth Tool.

रंग बट्टी / Rang batti
Quite straightforward, a Rang batti is essentially a long stick of wood that is used to hold blocks of color on either end of the stick.

This is used whilst preparing the base color for the processed lac.
Lac Bangles making process - Khali lac bangles making tool

Fifth Tool.

ख़ाली / Khali
A ‘Khali’ is a long rectangular block of wood, with a thin cavity running down it vertically on each side.

Each cavity is of a different size and form, usually semi-circular in shape.

The soft lac coil is placed inside these cavities and then pressed.

This gives it a makeshift circular, albeit deformed shape that is then later finished with other tools.
Lac Bangles making process - Sigdi lac bangles making tool

Sixth Tool

सिगड़ी / Sigdi

Sigdi is a cylindrical vessel, made of metal.

It’s approximately 6 inches in height, and heated with coal inside it.

A metal plate is placed as a lid where beads are kept for heating.

Women from the community typically handle this tool, it’s placed in an elevated area of the workspace, and behaves like an oven to soften and process beads and stones for the bangles.
Lac Bangles making process - Hatta lac bangles making tool

Seventh Tool.

हत्था/Hatta

A ‘Hatta’ is a flat sheet of wood with a wide handle perpendicular to it.

This allows it to be used to pull out thin coils of lac from a thick coil, using a back and forth motion encircling the handle of the Hatta.

This tool can also be used like a stamp, almost. Grabbing and handle, it’s also used to flatten a thin coil of lac for making wide bangles.

The handle is usually 2 inches in height.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart