Reciting tales from the pristine valleys and snow capped mountains of Kashmir, Kani embroidery reflects the rich heritage and culture of the region. The Kani shawls are revered for their intricate workmanship, unique plush softness, elaborate nature inspired designs. Master artisans spend
many an hour to handcraft the shawls using the intricate technique of 'Kani' which involves interlocking multihued silk threads as and when each row of weft is completed.
Zardosi is one of the ancient techniques of metal embroidery. Once a firm favourite among aristocrats, zardosi continues to reign the fashion world due to the intricate workmanship and aesthetic designs. Zardosi involves drawing elaborate designs on silk, velvet, satin or silk cotton fabrics, stretching the silk over a wooden frame and interlacing exquisite detailing like gold wires, silver threads, sequins, pearls and semi precious stones through the design, using needles.
Native to West Bengal, Kantha embroidery reflects the dreams and aspirations of the tribal women of the region. It provides an enriching source of livelihood for the rural women of Bengal. The term 'Kantha' simply means Throat, and is known to connote Lord Shiva. Kantha embroidery
involves tracing beautiful nature inspired designs and decorating them with loosely done chain stitches. The motifs like animals, birds, florals, fish and folk scenes reflect the imagery of local culture and traditions. There are 7 different types of kantha embroidery designs.
Gloriously quintessential, Bandhini is a tie and dye technique. This involves an elaborate process where the artisans pluck the fabric with fingernails to create tiny bindings, do tiny knots using gummy reeled silk threads around the pattern and dip the fabric in natural dyes. The sericin
present on the silk thread acts as a resist to prevent the dye reaching inside the knots. Based on the way the ties are done, enchanting patterns like Chandrakala, Bavan Bung, Shikari etc grace the fabric.
Parsi is an exquisite and intricate form of embroidery dating back to Bronze age. Over the years, it has evolved drawing influences from the rich cultures of Persia, China, India and Europe. It involves the technique of Khaka stitch, which involves dextrous and fine needlework. A fascinating fact is that Khaka stitch is also known as forbidden stitch, as the keen focus and attention involved in crafting often plays havoc with the eyesight of the embroiderer. This goes to prove that a handcrafted parsi saree is truly an art of love. Parsi embroidery depicts nature inspired designs with deep inner meaning, and mesmerise with interweaving of bright and pastel hues.
Appliqué is an ancient art form, which involves layering different cut fabrics on a base fabric and securing them with dainty chain stitches. The different coloured fabrics, abstract designs and textures lend a dramatic enchantment to the base fabric. Beautiful embellishments like stones,
beads and sequins are also interlaced amidst. It is fascinating to know, that this delightful craft evolved when thrifty people in olden days used the handy technique of patchwork to reuse their ripped clothes. Artisans used to sew different fabrics under the ripped area, to make the clothes wearable again.