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Exquisite embroidery

Students of costume design and fashion tried their hand at Kutch embroidery and mirror work in a workshop


MENTION THE Hindi movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and what comes to your mind is a splash of bright colours and Aishwarya Rai in her bright red ghagra choli, embellished with Kutch embroidery.

It was her heavily embroidered dreamy costumes in saffron, blue, red and green that created the larger-than-life aura around Aishwarya Rai in the movie.

Kutch embroidery is an evolving expression of the craft and textile traditions of the Rabaris, a nomadic tribe in Gujarat.


This folk embroidery is done using cotton or silk thread on cotton cloth. Certain styles use silk and a satin-like material too. Square chain, double buttonhole, pattern darning, running stitch, satin and straight stitches are used to create intricate patterns. Thanks to the liberal use of multi-shaped glass pieces, the garments literally glitter. And, every bold stitch and glass piece used is reflective of the rituals and folklore of the Rabaris.

The second year students of the department of Costume Design and Fashion of the CSI Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Science got to know more about Kutch work at a workshop organised by the college recently.

"We learn about 27 types of hand embroidery in our curriculum. So it's nice to learn traditional Kutch work as a bonus," says Sofia, a second year student.

Kutch embroidery takes one into a world where colours explode in unique embroidery forms. "Kutch work is unique in the sense that a net is woven on a cloth using thread.


The net is then filled in using the same thread by intricate interlocking stitches. The patterns are usually built around geometric shapes," explains K. Jijilla Mary, instructor.

This embroidery follows its own traditional design logic and juxtaposition of colours and motifs. "In Kutch embroidery, only when you learn the basic square stitch, can you master traditional patterns with your innovation.

The colourful tribal motifs lend vibrancy and modern designing a contemporary feel to the fabric," explains K. Dhanasudha, tutor. "Mirrors, beads, sequins as well as tie and dye and appliqué are part of the vibrant embroidery, executed using the basic embroidery colours of red, black, green, yellow, white and orange," says Sonia Elizabeth Thomas, department faculty.

K.JESHI

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