KUTCH WORK – THE HIGHLY STRUCTURED HANDICRAFT METHOD (GUJARAT - INDIA)
‘Kutch Work’ is one of the trendy embroidering methods that prevail in the Indian State of Gujarat. As the starting points of this interlacing method are ‘Kutch’ and ‘Saurashtra’, the technique is generally termed as ‘Kutch Work’.
It is generally believed that this wonderful technique had originally started in Armenia, and it was brought to Gujarat by the migrants who picked this place to settle down. It is also said that ‘Kutch Work’ was initiated by ‘Mochis (a group of people who were engaged in shoemaking business)’. These people pioneered the craft of embroidery by applying the stitching style of ‘Chain Stitch’ which was carried out using ‘Aari’. ‘Kutch Work’ is rich in diversity; it has several ‘brands’, ‘designs’, and ‘shades’; in fact the work takes different styles, precisely depending on the region and community.
Kutch Work Technique:
The initial task in ‘Kutch Work’ is to create the outline design using ‘Cretan stitch’ or ‘Herringbone stitch’. When this primary job is completed, the gap is packed with interweaving. ‘Aari Bharat’ is considered as a finest form of ‘Kutch’ embroidering method; the term ‘Aari Bharat’ is derived from “Aari”, which is the name of the ‘curved needle’ that is used for the chain stitch. In ‘Aari Bharat’ method, the needle is pressed through the bottom side of the base material (embroidery cloth) and from the other side it is pulled up through the cord loop; the needle is again pressed down (this time through this specific cord loop) and taken out, and this action is continued till an unbroken ‘chain stitch line’ is created.
The ‘Abhala’ embroidery work is the task of fixing little mirror bits on the material, and for this, ‘buttonhole’ stitching method is used generally.
Recognizing Kutch work:
The application of bright colored threads, tiny mirrors, beads, complex embroidering technique that decorates the whole base cloth and the chain stitching style are the key distinguishing traits of ‘Kutch Work’. Usually the base cloth will be either ‘silk’ or ‘cotton’, and the cords used will be ‘woolen’ or ‘silk’. The basic colors that are utilized for ‘Kutch Work’ are ‘black’, ‘green’, ‘ivory’, ‘indigo’, ‘yellow’, and ‘deep red’. There will be ‘beads’ and tiny mirrors (abhala) within the embroidery in a scattered form; these are the intrinsic elements of ‘Kutch Work’.
‘Ghagra Choli (the conventional Gujarati ‘skirt and blouse’ set) is a trendy model of ‘Kutch Work’.
You must examine the embroidery pattern in a methodical manner to pick the accurate ‘Kutch Work’.
Visit Sanskriti website; you can very clearly see the embroidery pattern and the close range images of ‘Kutch Work’.
Kutch Work types:
Basically ‘Kutch Work’ can be classified into seven groups; ‘Suf’, ‘Khaarek’, ‘Paako’, ‘Rabari’, ‘Jat’, ‘Mutwa’, and ‘Ahir’.
The ‘Suf’ triangle (calculated on both ‘warp’ and ‘weft’) is the basis of this designing method and the task is indeed painstaking. This embroidery work requires meticulous manual labor. The stitching work is done on the reverse side using the ‘surface satin stitch’. Here the designs are not sketched; the craftsman will have to visualize the desired design and count it on the warp and weft, and then embroider it! Experience, geometrical analyzing capacity, and sharp vision are the prerequisites to become an expert ‘Suf’ designer.
‘Khaarek Embroidery’ is a geometric designing method and here, the pattern is sketched first with squares in black color. Afterwards the gaps are packed with strips that are created using ‘satin stitching’. A notable feature of this style is that the entire cloth will have embroidery.
The meaning of ‘Paako’ is ‘hard’. This embroidery will have series of solid squares and the stitching style is ‘double buttonhole’. Generally the designs will be ‘flowers’ which are set in proportional patterns.
This embroidery work got the name from the ‘Rabari’ community whose main profession was camel grazing. They were the wandering immigrants from the Thar Desert region (Rajasthan). The special feature of ‘Rabari embroidery’ is the inclusion of various types of tiny mirrors in the stitching (chain stitching style is followed here). The base material will be always black. Series of stitches are made, using bright colored threads to bring in more attractiveness.
The name of this brand got originated from the ‘Garasia Jat Community who came and settled from the external areas of Kutch; they were basically Islamic herdsmen. Garasia Jat ladies were experts in creating geometrical designs using the ‘cross stitch’ method and tiny mirrors.
The Muslim population (popularly known as ‘Mutwas’) who reside in the diverse areas of Banni (Kutch) carries out this embroidery work. This is a complex embroidery model in which there will be ‘geometrical patterns’, as well as intricate stitches. The base cloth will be ‘satin’ or ‘silk’, and ‘metallic cords’ will be also used to phase in attractiveness.
The typical wandering tribes who look after cattle (they assert themselves as the successors of the Hindu God ‘Lord Krishna’) are termed as the ‘Ahirs’. These people are believed to have relocated from ‘Mathura (Uttar Pradesh, India)’ to ‘Gujarat’. They have a peculiar embroidering system in which ‘chain stitch’ is used to draw the design sketch and ‘herringbone’ stitch is made use of for packing the pattern. Generally the patterns will be of ‘peacocks’, ‘elephants’, ‘parrots’, and ‘flowers’. However, the use of mirrors is an essential part of this pattern motif.