Threads tell a tale

By Pushpa Chari
It’s a dazzling spectacle — a tapestry of Indian embroideries with stitches, motifs, imageries and symbols drawing upon the country’s art, mythology, folklore and nature.

The Crafts Council of India showcases 16 different forms at “Embroideries of India 2010,” an exhibition that celebrates the diversity of needle art in the country. The exhibition is jointly organized by the Office of the Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

Each embroidery form tells its own tale from Kashmir’s unique kashida and crewel, Kanyakumari’s intricate embroidery done in the convents, and Gujarat’s resplendent mutwa, to the mirror-encrusted Rabari embroidery and Bengal’s kantha whose running stitches create textured surfaces. If the dramatic red, white and black geometrics of Toda embroidery bespeak a Macedonian origin, Lucknow’s ethereal 15th Century chikankari is reminiscent of the shadow work of Isfahan from where it originated and the poetic Chamba rumaal reminds one of the Roman definition of embroidery as ‘painting with a needle’ in its depiction of Rajput miniatures and court scenes.

On show are saris that flaunt kantha, Rabari, zari, kasuti and kashida work. Cushion bed and table linen are embroidered in every color of the spectrum, and embellished with mirrors, handmade lace and cross stitch done at the convents of Kanyakumari.

Handbags and shopping bags, belts are embellished with Toda, zari and mutwa embroidery. The designs on kurtis, tops, stoles and dupattas are magical.
The artisans are present at the venue to explain and interact with the visitors. An interesting part of the event is a product design competition where entrants can create a product using any of the embroidery forms on view. This will be an exposure for the artisan to innovative ideas on product design.

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