Heritage Handicrafts Workshop Day 2- Rabari Embroidery

Gujarat! The name itself gives us a crystal-clear picture of a world full of colours, designs, embroideries and mirror work. People all over the world have always been lured and fascinated by their unique and enchanting use of fabrics n embroidery techniques. One of the most famous embroidery is the Rabari embroidery of Kutch. It majorly works with chain stitches and extraordinary mirror works. Thanks to the department of Fashion Design and Technology at Amity Mumbai for organising traditional Indian textile embroidery workshop and exposing the students towards India’s exquisite artworks.

Sample of Rabari Embroidery

The workshop was directed by Ms. Raniben Rabari, who explained to us about the origin and techniques. Rabari Emboidery gets its name from the Rabari community, who are a nomadic / semi-nomadic community of western region of India, from Rajasthan to the Kutch region in Gujarat, the wandering gypsies. Rabari, or “Rahabari”means one who lives outside or “goes out of the path”. By the end of the twentieth century, Rabari embroidery started to get recognised by its use of mirrors (shisha) surrounded by colourful embroidery. Rabari mythology and their desert habitation have been an inspiration for many of the large and bold designs. They  work on a dark ground, with the individual motifs being outlined with chain stitch and then filled in with buttonhole stitch and herringbone stitch, all in brightly coloured threads. In addition, back stitch (bakhiya) is used to decorate the seams of women’s blouses and on men’s jackets (kediyun).

The students were given samples of base design on black casement fabric and were taught different types of chain stiches on that design along with beautiful mirror works. They were also taught how to make a frame for the mirror to be in place on the fabric and then stitch. The students were provided with different shapes of mirrors and four colors of anchor threads to work with and were even briefed about feather stitch.The intricacy in the art work needs a whole lot of patience, focus, a creative and an active mind. It’s not just playing around with needle and thread. 

The workshop left everybody with a thought and inquisitiveness to learn about our traditional Indian artworks before jumping to the modern world. It also nourished the students about how a modified version of these artworks can be put into today’s contemporary designs.


Author:
Arundhati Abipsha
2nd Year, Fashion Design

Editors:
Prarthana Kapadia
3rd Year, Fashion Design
Shalini Mohanty
Assistant Professor, ASFDT

Graphic Designer:
Sonal Dalvi
2nd Year, Fashion Design

Photographer:
Arundhati Abipsha
2nd Year, Fashion Design

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