Makers of the Famed Patiala Jutti

India's undying love for juttis keeps the craft alive for the jutti makers of Patiala

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Patiala Jutti: Making of Patiala Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The seat of one of the principal former princely states of north India, Patiala, in Punjab, is still considered a great cultural centre. The erstwhile royal family were great patrons of the arts, and the city came to be known for its educational institutions, music and architecture. Various local crafts also flourished. Among them was the traditional craft of leather shoe making. The jutti, a closed leather shoe with regional variations across north India, is still popular all over Punjab. 

Patiala Jutti (2018-02-21)Dastkari Haat Samiti

In Patiala, royal patronage led to the popularity of a particular style of this footwear: the tilla jutti, embroidered with metallic thread. It is said that early versions of royal footwear were elaborately embroidered using real gold and silver wires. The artisans who made these were originally from the neighbouring state of Rajasthan. The royal family are believed to have settled them in Patiala to make customised footwear. 

Patiala Jutti: In-house workshops (2018-02-21)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A family based craft

Jutti making, for the most part, takes place in home workshops. The craftsman’s workspace is an extension of his living quarters. The making of the shoe is done by men. Decoration and finishing is done by women. 

Patiala Jutti: In-house workshops (2018-02-21)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Craftsperson Omkar Dhaliya, with his two sons. The entire family practises the art of shoe making. Originally from the neighbouring state of Rajasthan, they migrated in the time of his grandfather, owing to the demand for their craft in Punjab.

Omkar’s granddaughter displays a machine embroidered 'Taiwanese sheet', a form of artificial leather now popularly used for handmade shoes.

Patiala Jutti: In-house workshops (2018-02-21)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A shoe-maker's wife sorts and stacks finished juttis while watching television in her room. While men do the actual making of the shoe, women help with decoration and ancillary tasks.

Patiala Jutti: Making of Patiala Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A large local market 

Where commercialisation has led to the establishment of small workshops, roles of artisans have become specialised, with each individual taking care of a particular part of the process. Though small scale and unorganised, the juttis produced by the craftspeople of Patiala and its neighbouring areas have a large market within the state and also in other parts of the country.

Patiala Jutti: Making of Patiala Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Aman Kumar is a young artisan who pursues a degree in education while he practises his craft. There are many youngsters like him who have not abandoned their traditional skill, testimony
to the continuing demand and viability of the craft.

Patiala Jutti: Making of Patiala Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Jutti making is beginning to move out of the house, to small workshops like this one in Patiala called The Jutti Factory.

Patiala Jutti: Making of Patiala Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Here, four craftsmen sit together working on different aspects of shoe making.

Patiala Jutti: Making of the Patiala Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Each artisan is specialised in a different part of the process. In the picture, the artisan in the foreground is engaged in cutting out a pattern; behind him one craftsman uses a mallet to stick together layers of leather and lining, while the other punches out a design.

Patiala Jutti: Making of Patiala Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Workshops also tend to be informal, often attached to or near the artisans' homes.

Patiala Jutti: Women embellish Jutti (2018-02-22)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Once the basic form of the jutti is made, it is embellished by women artisans. Here, a craftswoman hand paints designs on shoes.

Patiala Jutti: Women embellish Jutti (2018-02-23)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Even in areas where jutti making is now done in workshops, women take the juttis home to work on decoration. Often, a group of women gathers together, chatting and working in an informal relaxed environment.

Patiala Jutti (2018-02-21)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Jutti stores in Top Khana Mor locality of Patiala city. Small shops selling juttis abound in areas where this traditional footwear is made.

Patiala Jutti (2018-02-21)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Different styles of locally crafted juttis on display.

Patiala Jutti: Wooden frame workshop (2018-02-21)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Credits: Story

Text: Rashmi Sacher
Photography: Subinoy Das
Artisans: Sachin Kumar, Sonu Kumar, Satinder Singh, Omkar Dhaliya
Ground Facilitator: Satyender Singh, Rashmi Sacher, Subinoy Das
Curation: Aradhana Nagpal

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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