The Kutch embroideries tread closely on the lines of ‘Bharat’ stitches such as Heer Bharat and Moti Bharat belonging to Rajasthan area. The intrinsic part of all such stitches is the use of a lot of thread for concealing parts of the designs. The Kutch embroidery uses the ‘abhala’ or small mirrors in juxtaposition with geometric patterns that give rise to a richly embellished fabric. Patchwork and appliqué are also observed among many communities.
The embroidery is done most commonly on cotton fabric but also on silk and satin media. The thread used for embroidery is prepared from cotton, silk or wool. The threads used are of vibrant colours like red, green, purple, black, blue, saffron, yellow and white. The use of such vivid colours along with sparkling embellishments brings a sense of celebration on the parched and sparsely vegetated lands of the Rann.
The inspiration behind the embroideries revolves mostly around the daily lives of the village folk. Since the women engaged themselves with the extensive needlework, they picked up elements of everyday affairs in their creations. Peacocks, flowers, animals, men and women—all ignited the imaginations behind the works. So, beautiful motifs resembling these elements are widely found in these.
Another influence regarded is that of Muslim and Persian arts and architecture. The tradition of the embroidery had begun under the Mughal rule; hence its influences are palpable in the works. The use of the abhala can be traced to Islamic influences as Mughal architectures show a great deal of usage of mirrors.
Image sources: Hands-Across-Sea-Samplers, UnnatiSilks, Isha.Sadhguru, Pinterest, Kutchimaddu, Instagram, VibgyorCollections, HeritageTrading, MatsyaCrafts