"Wicked people are always surprised to find ability in those that are good. "
- Marquis Vauvenargues
It has been rightly said that Gujarat has given the greatest heritage in embroidery work and craft through its famous Kutch Embroidery. The hub of Kutch embroidery work is located in the Kutch regions and Saurashtra and is one of the most creative and exquisite designs.
The Kutch embroidery decorates the fabric and embellishes it completely from the mirror to beadwork. The designs of Kutch embroidery is a tribute to Rabaris, a nomadic tribe that crafted the art of Kutch embroidery.
Origin and History
It has been said that Kutch embroidery was brought by ‘Kathi’ cattle breeders who settled down and created some fine needlework. They displayed several elements, designs, themes, patterns, and moods.
Kutch Embroidery has existed since the 16th and 17th centuries, and western countries exported it. It is believed that shoemakers were taught Kutch Embroidery 300 years ago by a Muslim wanderer in Sindh.
However, Kutch Embroidery with Sindh tradition have styles such as Suf, Khareek, Paako, Rabari, Garasia Jat, and Mutava.
Kutch Embroidery is shaped by several architectural designs and motifs such as ‘Heer Bharat.’ Using Heer Bharat as a mirror is easily fixed in the center and add more charm to the embroidery work.
Kutch Embroidery is majorly done in several colors such as Green, Ivory, Indigo, Black, Deep Red, Yellow, and Off White.
The embroidery is also impacted by romantic motifs and human figurines in dancing poses and peacocks.
A lot of motifs are also influenced by Mughal and Persian arts that are inspired by animals. Delicate beadwork is also incorporated with great finesse, and the work is done on fabrics such as cotton and silk.
Styles of Singh-Kutch Embroidery
There are seven styles of Singh-Kutch Embroidery, named such as Suf, Khaarek, and Paako, Rabari, Garasia Jat, and Mutava.
Suf is based on the triangle known as ‘Suf,’ which is counted on warp and weft of the cloth. The artisans never draw the designs on a paper, and they stitch directly.
The designs display in filling symmetrical patterns with tiny triangles.
Khaarek is a geometric style where the artisans work out the structure of geometric patterns with an outline of black squares.
Fill the spaces with a band of satin stitching that is worked along the warp and weft from the front. This embroidery fills the entire fabric and makes it look heavy.
Paako means solid, and hence it is a tight square chain and double hole stitch embroidery. It is usually finished with black satin outlining, and paako motifs are arranged in symmetric patterns.
Rabari has a mirror in several shapes and patterns in chain stitch. Then, it is decorated with stitches in vibrant colors. The artisans also use decorative backstitching, known as bakhiya, to decorate men’s jackets and seams of women’s blouses.
Jat Embroidery is derived from Garasia Jats, who were Islamic pastoralists who originated outside Kutch. Garasia women make geometric patterns in counted work, based on cross stitch studded fabric witty minute mirrors.
Mutava is a Muslim’s small group of herders who have a suitable style of stitching of local styles.
Facts about the Fabric
Gujarat has a rich heritage and a legacy of embroidery that it has offered to India and the world. There are several communities in Kutch that are into Kutch embroideries, such as the womenfolk of the Rabari community who are cattle breeders and embroiders for women. Some subgroups have a unique embroidery style. Many villages that are known for their exquisite Kutch embroidery with ornamental work and Kutch embroidery.
Current Day Scenario and Global Influence
Kutch Embroidery has not lost its shine, and colorful craft has gained popularity over the years. There is a constant flow of new designs and innovation in Kutch embroidery along with new merchandise such as waistcoat, purses, bags, backpacks, Jootis, sandals, skirts, scarves, and belts.
Home furnishings are also available in Kutch embroidery, and it has a worldwide appeal. It is being incorporated into modern wear, and various designers are inspired by Kutch embroidery to display on a global platform.
The basic of Kutch embroidery work is sturdy, owning to the delicate nature of the thread work, beadwork, and mirror work. Make sure that you dry clean the garment so that no damage is caused.