“Dongor” means hill “Kondh”, means “inhabitant”. One who inhabits the hills in Rayagada district of Orissa are the Dongoria Kondhs. This tribe has a rich culture of art, dance and music over the last few centuries. The most eye-catching of the handicrafts are the colorful unique embroidery shawls. These are also known as “Kapada Gonda” (main cloth) and signify an important signature in their personality and dress.
These natural colored shawls are generally woven by young girls for themselves, their brothers or lovers. The colors of the embroidery threads are vibrant vegetable colors like red, green or yellow. These dyes are extracted from juices of leaves, roots and turmeric. Green symbolises prosperity and fertility and stands for the earth goddess. Yellow symbolises happiness, peace and health. Red or maroon signifies blood or animal sacrifice and stands for vigour, strength and revenge. Depending on the mood, the occasion and the wearer for whom it is meant, one of these 3 colours would stand out in the embroidery designed shawl. It generally takes 3 to 4 months to complete one shawl. The girls do the weaving and embroidery while they tend the crops or look after the cattle. While older men sport simple motifs on their shawls, the brother wears an artistic piece. During ceremonial dances or in a bustling marketplace, if a boy flings his shawl at a girl, it signifies that he wants to marry her. The girl has a choice of accepting the shawl or throwing it back. If she accepts, the couple meets and marries with the consent of their families. The boy can also make the marriage proposal by snatching away the shawl from the girl.
The Dongoria Kondh embroidered shawl is a symbol of pride of the wearer. A beautifully embroidered shawl is the cynosure of all eyes in a marketplace. These shawls sell in the marketplace at prices ranging between Rs. 500 and Rs. 700.
Gujarat is one of the 24 states in India. Kutch and Saurashtraare regions in the state of Gujarat which are famous for its folk embroidery traditions. Apart from the usual gifts of jewellery and household utensils, the bride brings to her husband’s home a wealth of richly embroidered textiles carefully worked by herself and the women of her family. Such a dowry consists of costumes for the bride and the groom, embroidery hangings for their new home and trappings for their domestic animals.
Each village in Kutch have a distict style of embroidery and design. Mostly embroidery is highlighted by the sparkle of shishas (small mirrors).
I came across this resource called Jersey Forms, Body Forms (you see this just above this post and below the image) – on elegant accessories done using flower and beadwork embroidery techniques. It is called “A touch of Asia” and features various jewellery containers, lipstick cases and change purses. This collection contains some unique and simple beadwork on an otherwise ordinary purse. The beadwork fruit motif and rooster are good examples of these. The watermelon (shaped like a cut piece) is sized at 5″ x 3.5″ and the pineapple is 4″ x 4″. The rooster purse which comes with a blue background (sized at 4.25″ x 3.88″) and multi color combination looks awesome.
The jewellery container is a satin folding pouch sized at 8.63″ x 5.5″. The highlight of this piece is the flower embroidery on its outer covers. Some other products are the coin purse with side charm, 5 in 1 Asian multipurpose accessories clutch and the satin covered lipstick case with mirror.
Millions of Indians all over the world rejoiced last week when it was announced that Taj Mahal was reinstated as one of the seven wonders of the world.
The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, India. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned it as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Construction began in 1632 and was completed in 1648. This was designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri along with skilled worksmen and craftsmen. The Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal Indian architecture, a style that combines Persian, Indian, Islamic and Turkish styles. The white domed marble mausoleum is most popular and many a time denoted as a national symbol (India). In 1983, this monument became a UNESCO World Heritage site and was cited as the “Jewel of Muslim Art in India”.
What does this edifice have anything to do with embroidery. Have you ever seen an embroidered Taj Mahal…! Check this out at Patterns Boutique. Isn’t it a beauty. This has been done through cross stitch embroidery. Since it is a pattern, it is important that the embroiderer uses the recommended fabric – Aida 18 and the recommended color – white to ensure the beautiful marvel of Taj Mahal comes out best on your embroidery. In the case of the pattern next to the post, the fabric size is 40*32 cm and there are a total of 30 color stitches.
Portraits like the Taj Mahal are great as wall hangings and door adornments.
I will try to follow this up sometime later with some of the portraits of the other wonders of the world.
Embellishments on Indian embroidery designs cannot be complete without the use of adornments like glass or mirrors at the right locations to give the right look and feel. The Hindi word for mirror is Shisha and embroidery using mirrors are known as shisha embroidery. The mirror glass used in embroidery, known as shisha or abla, can decorate clothing, torans (doorway hangings), household shrines, curtains and rumals (cloth wrappings).
How does one attach the mirror to the fabric?Â The basic accessories needed are :
The calico comes below the background fabric since it needs to support the weight of the mirror pieces. Stitching is done through both the fabrics. Once this is done, the panel is trimmed to the correct size and after turning under about 1 cm of fabric, the mirror embroidery is ironed in place (The information on iron-on appliques would be helpful here)
The common shape of shisha is round, but they do come in square and triangular sizes. There are no holes in the shisha, hence it has to be held in place with a network of stitches which forms the base for the decorative stitches.
The various types of shisha are :
* Handblown glass shisha is also known as antique shisha or mica. As it is hand cut, the sizes are more variable and the shape can be slightly irregular.
* Machine-cut glass is known in India as embroidery glass.
* Sequin shisha are in fact large flat sequins. They are thin and flat and have a hole at one side, but this is covered with the stitching.
Embroidered shisha rings are becoming popular, where you place the ring over the chosed mirror and slipstitch in place around the edge of the ring. The decorative ring around the mirror glass can be worked in various stitches, including shisha stitch, herringbone or cretan stitch.
Check out this great resource I came across on hand embroidery designs – “Knitting-and” The critters have come out really cute, haven’t they! This is one place where we could find some rarely embroidered creatures like dragonfly and redback spider. The Indian motifs especially the peacock design is worth a peek. You could find more information on cultural embroidery at Indian embroidery. Most of these embroideries can be knitted using Brother embroidery machines. But the one which takes the cake is the moth you see besides this post. A moth at the onset of its transformation to a butterfly is a beautiful sight and this embroidery manages to capture that moment. This knitting embroidery was done using 6 six strands for filling and 3 for the outline.
Knitting is a beautiful art and if you ever want to learn knitting, I would recommend the tutorial on Knitting Tips.Â It has a basic 5 day free e-tutorial for you.
Some of the unique points to note are that these applique embroidery designs are made of colorful and multi pattern cotton fabric and are handmade by artisans from Pipilli (meaning Papillion) in Orissa in India.
I found this interesting product description which I am reproducing verbatim: “Applique in Orissa, India is an old temple art, which has been refined to a perfection. A fine example of the craft is the enormous applique canopies above the reigning deity of Puri, Lordjagannath. Applique art is the process of cutting coloured cloth into shapes of animals, birds, flowers, leaves and other decorative motifs and stitching them on to a piece of cloth that can ultimately be used as a lamp shade, a hand bag or even a garden umbrella. The village of Pipli, close to Bhubaneswar, is the site of beautiful applique work, created by artists, quite a few of whom have won national awards for their crafts. Applique’, which is a French term, is a technique by which the decorative effect is obtained by superposing patches of coloured fabrics on a basic fabric, the edges of the patches being sewn in some form of stitchery. It is distinct from what is known as patch work in which small pieces of cut fabrics are usually joined side by side to make a large piece of fabric or for repairing a damaged fabric. Though the form is not unknown in other parts of India, it is Orissa and specially in Pipli that the craft has a living and active tradition continuing over centuries.”
At the start of this new year, we have for you a one stop shop for all Indian embroidery designs at Indian Embroidery. India is famous for fabric decoration using traditional weaving, dyeing and embroidery. What is interesting is that each province of India has its own unique style of embroidery coming down from ancient times. In traditional Indian embroidery, the threads are dyed in natural vibrant colors and the embroidery is done using a variety of stitches unique to that form of embroidery. The simple running stitch of kantha or the satin and chain of Kashmiri Kashidakari depict the passion and life of the people of the state. The Chikan work of Lucknow resembles the fine marble carvings of the Mughal dynasty at Uttar Pradesh and Phulkari embroidery springs forth from the florals of Punjab. The intricate patterns and stitches of Katiawari and Sindhi embroidery entrap the beauty of the desert landscape of Rajasthan. The Mirror embroidery designs of Gujarat reflects the Persian influence on the state.
All the patterns are hand embroidered. The various forms of embroidery that you would find at this website are Kantha, Banjara, Kathi, Aari, Rabari, Kasuti, Soof, Zardozi, Chikankari, Mirror, Phulkari, Bidri, Kashmiri, Banni and Ahir embroideries. The history behind each of these designs is explained before proceeding on to the process of stitching each of them. This website should, to the best of my knowledge, cover all the varieties of Indian embroideries. If you do come to know of any more, please do let me know through the contact button below.
These are the happy days of Deepavali, a festival in India, which symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. It is called the Festival of Lights. Indians generally dress themselves in elegant splendour and with sweets and savouries to feast on, this festival is indeed a time to look forward to.
On Indian embroidered dresses, the resplendent Indian saree has stood the test of time. It symbolizes the adorn and beauty of the Indian women. The various categories of Indian sarees are cotton sarees, pure silk saree, wedding embroidered sarees, crepe sarees, chiffon sarees, georgette sarees to name a few.
But today, I draw special attention to the lehengas – one is next to this post – which are unique to this country. You must see some good examples of the hand embroidered lehenga cholis made by tribes of Gujarat, India and is handloom woven cotton fabric with thread and mirror embroidery designs.
What is unique in this technique of hand embroidery is the use of glass, mica, herring bone, mirror woven around with the embroidery design to give the entire pattern a stunning look! The silver glass used are produced by blowing glass into spheres and then breaking them into pieces of the required size. This is an art in itself.