Hand embroidery is an expression of sheer beauty, aesthetics and an interpretation of nature’s finest…in color, shapes, form and texture. A painting on the canvas of fabric using a needle as a brush. The patient rendering, the concentration, the devotion of the artisan and their love for it which does not allow them to flicker their eyes else they miss a stitch.
I have often watched our men at work. They work on a wooden frame attaching the fabric to it with a yarn on a thin cotton rope entwined to the frame. They pull and tighten the fabric such that the stitches don’t cause any wrinkle with a careful hand so they don’t alter the grain of the fabric to achieve a smooth uncrushed finish. The tedious preparation on which the entire outcome depends. Following that a patient, steady hand at work. The fine picking of the various material in small proportion and memorizing its repeats. The never to stop hand movements which take the intricate completion of a piece as a challenge. An attitude and assurance of their fine produce and the hallmarked confidence that there will never be another same piece in the world as each one is a masterpiece. Similar but never the same.
One such technique is “Zardozi”. It’s roots are from Persia and one of the most popular and expensive technique. In earlier times it used to be made from gold and silver thread and weighed much. Nowadays the gold and silver are replaced by metallic threads and use of sequins, dabka and beads. The heavy silks and brocades used earlier to survive the weight of this embroidery have been replaced by lighter fabrics. Ever since it was introduced by the Moghuls in India it has become a part of all tasteful art lovers possession. Needless to say this form of art requires trained hands and this has been passing down from generations.