The Kutch region in Gujarat is the artsy powerhouse of some of the most breathtaking craft traditions across India and abroad – Kutch work or Kachcchi embroidery is characterized by a mélange of bright colors, mirror-works, beads and distinctive and intricate embroidery that adorns the entire fabric on which the craft is based.
About The Craft
The state of Gujarat is renowned to be the centre of not one or two, but 16 different styles of embroideries, each belonging to a particular community. Amidst this, Kutch embroidery is the most extensive, versatile and identifiable craft tradition that has been handed down over generations. Generally crafted on silk or cotton fabric, Kutchhi embroidery embellishment is found on everything – from bags, bed covers, toran to wall hangings and camel decorations. The skilled artisans derive inspiration from their daily lives, like household chores, peacocks, flowers and camels to name a few. Some of the motifs are also inspired from architectural, romantic, Persian and Mughal artistic elements.
The colors are used dramatically; deep red, ivory, green, indigo, yellow and black are primary colors that amplify elaborate patterns and detailing art. The threadwork of Kutch embroidery is stunning. With silk or woolen threads, fabrics are stitched finely exuding flawless craftsmanship. The embroidery is further accentuated with the aesthetic use of shells, beads, mirrors, that are stitched across the patterns in strategic positions. The extra embellishments add a dazzling effect to the fabrics, while enhancing its overall appeal and art.
A Quick Fact – The mirrors have a special significance in dry regions of Rajasthan as well as in Islamic art and architecture. According to the local belief, mirror resembles water; and water is the most important resource in deserts. It’s also believed to ward off the evil; hence extensive mirror work can be witnessed on all Kutchi embroideries.
Popular Styles of Kutch Embroidery
It’s believed that the roots of Kutchhi embroidery originate from the ‘Mochis’, the community of shoemakers, who were once closely associated with crafting decorative pieces and royal textiles. Over time, the culture evolved, work pattern changed and they began producing fine needlework to create a plethora of designs, patterns, themes and moods.
The style, motifs and colors differ widely from community to community and region-wise. However, most of the embroidery work is carried on by the farming and herding communities, namely Rabaris, Ahir and Soda Rajputs: they are the pioneers of this intricate yet extensive craft.
Here we’ve rounded some of the most-famous styles of Kutch embroidery:
Soof – Immaculate, simple and clean, Soof style emphasizes on geometric designs. Chevron design is a key element, which is also known as leher or waves in English.
Aari – Elaborate and exclusive, Aari is a distinct chain stitched pattern mainly found in Mughal-inspired designs. Cobblers are the main Aari artists.
Gotany or Gotauvn – A handful number of Muslim pastoral people from 11 villages are the true pioneers of this unique embroidery, Gotany. Several intricate patterns of mirror-work, striking metallic threads and plush silk fabrics are key attributes of this type of incredible handiwork.
Jat – Tiny mirrors used all over, Jat is the product of cross-stitched patterns. Two Jat communities are mainly involved in this art work, namely Garasia and Fakirani.
At MyRootsDesi, we are humble supporters of traditional Kutch handicrafts – we promote and encourage skilled, rural artisans and craft communities without breaking their community norms and stigmas to produce works of art.
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