Traditional Indian embroidery - Kutch
Intense and vivid color, intricate designs, finely embedded mirror work and exquisite stitching .... These embroidered fabrics are imbibed with an artistic gravity we hadn’t seen until our first visit to Bhuj and the small village of Bhujodi, in the Kutch region of Gujarat.
The semi-nomadic Rabari community is found around Kutch, a desert area in Gujarat, Western India – though their famous hand crafted embroidery is evident over large areas of India and across the vast deserts of Rajasthan. Proud of their traditions and artistic heritage, the Rabari tribal women love to decorate themselves and their simple abodes with colorful and harmonious embroidery pieces.
Girls from the tribe begin learning the fine stitching techniques from the women in their families at an early age and go on to create useful items for their dowry, following traditional embroidery styles. These include their own garments – usually ghagra/choli sets (skirt and blouse), in addition to household fabrics for bedcovers, door hangings, baby blankets, bags and even covers for their cattle and camels. Special pieces are created for festive occasions and marriages.
Bold hand worked motifs are inspired by family and village life - the sun, landscape, trees, flowers, peacocks, camels, etc as well as Moghul inspired architecture and Persian designs featuring simple geometrics. The embroidery motifs and garment styles identify the wearer’s social status, age, marital status or ethnic tribal region.
Mirror work, fine chain stitch, satin stitch, running stitches and herringbone are frequently used, with embroidery styles evolving through the generations. Mirror fragments are finely embedded with tiny buttonhole stitches. Beads, shells, tassels and buttons are added for individual effect as the artisan is inspired, to make the work truly original.
Silk or cotton threads in strong colors are worked on a plain cotton fabric with a solid color background, sometimes lightly quilted to provide a more durable cloth for bags, blankets etc. The added embellishments display the artist's creativity and love for color and decoration. The result is an exquisitely textured embroidery and colorful work of art!
A Richness in Everyday Life
We see a variety of stunning examples of this exquisite art form in fabrics used in everyday life of the humble Rabari people - pieces that are easily packed and moved from one camp to the next in their colourful lifestyle. Some traditional embroidered pieces from Pallu Design's collection are here.
These unique Indian embroidered masterpieces are a valuable addition to anyone’s collection and useful in your home as stand-alone or framed artworks, panel pieces for cushions or table runners, bed throws or shawls - bringing a sense of the exotic and a creative energy to your home!