Kutch textiles: embroidery, applique, quilts & patchwork

Posted on April 30, 2019 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

kutch textiles

 

Embroidery plays a eminent role in Kutch textiles, and Gujarat was the world's centre for commercial embroidery in the 17th century. The area was renowned for its mochi (meaning 'cobbler' in Gujarati and Hindi) embroidery maintained by the Mochis, who were originally cobblers but developed their own style of embroidery technique on silk. An ari is a small crochet-hook like awl/needle used to create chain stitches repeatedly. The embroidered motifs were usually flowers, fruits, animals (peacocks are common) and human figures. However, traditional mochi embroidery suffered a demise when the courts, landowners and merchants lost their wealth in the early-mid 20th century, and now you can only find the finest mochi embroidery in the museums/at the homes of some collectors.

 

kutch textiles  kutch textiles

kutch textiles

kutch textiles

 

Luckily, our guide Salim Wazir is the son of the renowned Kutch textiles expert and collector, Mr A A Wazir, hence we had the opportunity to visit his home and see his stunning collection of more than 3000 pieces colleced over 50 years. Mr Wazir has traveled extensively around India and has collected textiles of different styles and sizes, with many of them featuring fine embroidery. Besides embroidery, he also collected many wonderful appliques and quilts. This place is a must for all textiles lovers and collectors; about half of his textile collection is for sale, and worldwide shipping is available too.

There are numerous embroidery styles in Kutch, but one of the notable style is the Shisha or Abhla bharat embroidery that feature round or other shaped mirrors attached to the fabrics by embroidery. Some tribal communities believe mirrorwork is auspicious as a tool for warding off the evil eye, reflecting bad luck and evil spirits away from the wearer. The main practitioners of this style are the Rabaris, Kanbis, Ahirs, Rajputs and Oswal Banias.

 

kutch textiles  kutch textiles

kutch textiles

kutch textiles

kutch textiles

 

Applique (or Katab) is easier to work than embroidery, and it was introduced from either Europe or Middle East by through trading in the 19th century. Often animals, plants and humans cut-outs are sewn onto a large piece of cloth that are used as wedding canopies. The applique technique is usually practised bt the Kathis and Molesalaam.

 

kutch textiles  kutch textiles

kutch textiles

 

Quilts are usually made by older women in the Kutch communities, and they are a favourite wedding gift for newly weds. Sometimes the quilts feature patchwork designs or appliqués or a mix of several techiques on recycled or new fabric, and are considered a sign of a family's wealth and position in the community.

 

kutch textiles  kutch textiles

kutch textiles

kutch textiles

kutch textiles

 kutch textiles  kutch textiles

kutch textiles

 

The day after a fascinating visit to Mr A A Wazir's home, we went to the showroom of Qasab, an collective socio-cultural enterprise founded in 1997 to revitalise the embroidery craft of Kutch. It comprises 1,200 rural craftswomen from 11 ethnic communities spread across 62 villages in Kutch. The enterprise is known for its high quality of Kutch embroidery, appliqué and patchwork products that reflect the cultural identity of each community.

 

qasab

qasab

qasab  qasab

qasab  qasab

 

There was a long presentation of the textiles practised by the numerous tribal groups in Kutch. One of them is the nomadic Rabari tribe, which moved to the Kutch region in the 13th century. When the tribal elders banned the elaborate embroidery work made by women 15 years ago. Qasab has since been in dialogues with the community elders to give opportunities to the Rabari women to collaborate with designers to apply their appliqué skills and earn an income to support themselves.

The next post will be about a Rabari village woman who became an award-winning female entrepreneur loved by the celebrities in Bollywood...

 

qasab  qasab

qasab

qasab  qasab

qasab

 

 


This post was posted in Travel, Design, Textiles, India, Indian design, embroidery, Kutch and was tagged with textiles, embroidery, India, Indian design, Kutch, Indian textiles, Kutch textiles

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