Hand embroidery and motifs in India

Motifs and different styles in hand embroidery

Hand embroidery and stitching has grabbed a spot for itself in the new trends of 2020. There is no doubt that handiwork is being appreciated more than ever this year. Home décor and soft furnishings are all about being comfortable, stylish, vegan and cruelty free in this day and age. Everyone is looking out and searching for more sustainable products with authentic, traditional craftsmanship. 

In this search for something traditional and authentic, embroidery has stood out for a lot of people. Although embroidery was traditionally used mostly on apparels, but now contemporary ideas are churning up as well. Incorporating it with cushion covers, linens and abstract wall hangings have been one of the trends this year. This craft of using needle and threads to create beautiful designs and patterns on fabrics has started gaining more popularity recently. Gota patti, pipli, zardozi, chikankari, kantha, parsi gara, phulkari and many other techniques have been very popular. 

Gota patti hand embroidery from Around Always

All these traditional techniques of embroidery have always been used to create the most basic and popular patterns that have been inspired by nature and the natural surroundings of the artists. Some of the popular motifs are the flowers, animals, birds and the trees. Using mirrors to create abstract astral shapes, geometric patterns, mythical birds such as the double headed peacock, celestial bodies Surya (sun), Chandra (moon) and Rahu that devours sun and moon, causing the eclipse. Lotus, fishes, mandala art, and also societal scenes are depicted in some pieces. Elephants and monkeys as well as the Tree of Life, are some motifs that can be spotted very often in the traditional designs. 

Gota pattiis the craft of using metals like gold, silver, copper to create elaborate designs and involves using of gold or silver ribbons to form shapes and motifs. Zardozi embroidery uses metallic wires and threads, sequins, pearls, gems and other embellishments.Kantha embroidery that uses running stitch, darning, satin and loop stitch is famous in Odisha and Parsi gara, uses intricate and detailed embroidery with bright colours on dark fabrics. Phulkari, another famous embroidery technique that literally means “flower work”, usually uses five or seven bright colours and has repeated patterns that represent gardens. You can read more about different embroidery works here.

It is important to understand that no matter what type of embroidery it is or from which region it has originated from, the craft has been passed down from generations to generations. It is a treasured skill for the people who have been fortunate enough to have witnessed it in their family and have been able to learn it to preserve the craft. It is a major source of employment for a lot of families residing in the villages and small towns. 

Embroidery is an integral part of the textile community and industry of our country. It holds a high value for itself. The fine workmanship and dexterous skill of the artisans cannot be expected to be replicated with machines. This craft being used in and being involved in new and contemporary ideas such as pillow and cushion covers really shows how versatile it is and how flexibly it can be used on various products. And now that a lot of us have achieved greater awareness about sustainability and reducing the use of toxic agents in the things we buy, as a collective, we are falling back on our long-established skills and are supporting the locals who have continued to work on these crafts throughout all the changes that have taken place in the textile industry. 

The dedicated time and effort put into each and every piece that is created by the artisans is noteworthy and very precious for those who want to conserve this handiwork and also those who want to promote it in these times where readily made products are widely available. And what could be better than supporting the classic craft with a modern twist? 

Shop for authentic and traditional embroidery handwork at Around Always to support the creators and artisans!

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