Whether it is an Indian or a foreigner who has come to India to see what this country has to offer, handicrafts are something that captures the attention of everyone. India is a land that is rich in terms of handicrafts, and any part of the country you go to, you will find something interesting and enticing.
When you head to the western part of India, to the state of Gujarat, you will find one such craft, which is Kutchi embroidery. This is the traditional art of the tribal community of the Kutchi people. The embroidery is done primarily on cotton and silk, and mainly by the women of the local tribes.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY:
Legend has it that the Kutchi form of embroidery started in India during the 17th century, with the immigration of people to India, from other parts of the world. As per Wikipedia, cobblers, also known as mochis, were the first people to be trained in this art form. The trainers were actually Muslim sufi saints, who originally hailed from Sindh.
The art form soon became a vocation for the women of Kutch, and allowed them to not only meet their own clothing requirements, but also gave them a way to make a living, especially given the dry and very hot conditions of the Kutch region. Eventually, it became a generational art with the skills being passed on from a mother to daughter.
Kutchi embroidery has approximately 16 different types of stitches and styles and it is these variations that allow for the differentiation between the communities. Each community has its own unique style of stitching and although the basic tenets are the same, there are subtle variations. Kutchi embroidery, clubbed with Sindhi traditions, has given birth to styles such as Suf, Khaarek, and Paako, Rabari, Garasia Jat and Mutava.
All these embroideries draw inspiration from different walks of life, including architectural motifs, flowers, plants and bushes, animals, birds and even daily household chores. You will also get to see romantic motifs and festivities, such as dancing.
Usage of Kutch Embroidered Clothes:
Kutchi embroidered fabrics are used not only for making clothes to wear, but also for bedcovers, backpacks, purses, jholas, juttis, sandals and scarfs to name a few. It is also used for wall hangings, toran and other decorative items. Mirror work embroidered fabrics are also used for camel decorations and you will be able to see them in abundance during the “Festival of Rann of Kutch”.
Modern day scenarios of Kutch embroidery:
The embroidery which was used previously by women, only for their personal use and as dowry gifts has today become extremely commercial. This beautiful embroidery involving mirror work is used by many designers in their collections. Vibrant colors, combined with mirror work, are used aesthetically by SHREE – the Indian Avatar in their collection. Mesmerizing jackets, stunning kurtis and incredible dresses are being created using this intricate handicraft. Check out the spectacular collection at byshree.com