Gujarat Kutch Embroidery – Sewing colors onto fabrics

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What do you and I do when we have to pass time? Books, magazines, internet, games, music, conversations …?

Here is an account of what tribal women of Kutchh do, they ‘create’ symbols of their culture and custom…

The women of Kutchh carry out embroidery on products that are used at home – wall hangings, quilts, wedding couture, skirts & blouses (ghahgra choli), for children’s clothes, on shirts (kurtas) worn by their husbands, on scarves… basically anything and mostly everything. Some handmade pieces take them months to complete as they also need to tend to household chores and farming.

Broadly there are 7 types of embroideries done in Kutchh – Jat, Soof, Kharek, Rabari, Aahir, Pakko and Mutwa. Let us give you an account of each for better appreciation…

Jats are pastoral communities who migrated from western Asia to India centuries ago. The Jat women generally use cross stitch embroidery to cover the whole of fabric in a pre-planned geometric design. They also extensively use mirrors in their work

Jat embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Jat embroidery

Soof embroidery is done by the Sodha, Rajput and Meghwal communities of Kutchh. The designs by them are largely geometric patterns developed using satin stitch from reverse side of the fabric. Keen eyesight, knowledge of mathematics and geometry are a must to produce Soof work. Soof motifs include rhythmic patterns from lives of artisans like peacocks, mandalas, etc. and are used to create articles like garments, bedspreads, wall hangings, quilts, torans, cradle cloths, animal trappings and cushion covers…

Soof embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Soof embroidery

Kharek embroidery is done by Sodha, Rajput and Meghwal communities. Artisans outline geometric patterns on a fabric and then fill in the spaces with bands of satin stitching that are worked along warp and weft from the front.

Kharek embroidery Kutchh Gujarat

Kharek embroidery

Rabari embroidery is done by Rabari communities of Kutch which are predominantly pastoral nomadic communities that rear cattle. The designs produced by them are bold and usually derived from mythology and daily lives. The outline on fabric is made in chain stitch and then filled closely using buttonhole single chain, herringbone stitches. Usually black colored base is used for Rabari embroideries.

Rabari embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Rabari embroidery

Aahir embroidery is done by outlining freehand designs on a fabric using square chain stitch and then filling using closed herringbone stitch. Mirrors are extensively used in this form of embroidery as well.

Aahir embroidery Kutchh Gujarat 1

Aahir embroidery

Pakko embroidery is done by outlining using square chain stitch and tightly filling geometrical patterns using double buttonhole stitches. This embroidery is done by Sodha, Rajput and Meghwal communities of Kutchh.

Pakko embroidery Kutchh Gujarat

Pakko embroidery

Mutawa embroidery is practiced by Muslim herders of Banni grasslands in northern Kutchh. They tiny patterns of Mutawa embroidery employ combinations of square chain, buttonhole, chain, satin, herringbone stitches.

Mutawa embroidery Kutchh Gujarat

Mutawa embroidery

Indeed, when creations reflect essence of cultures and colors of life, it is bound to create magic – thanks to the tribes of Kutch.

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