Embroidery

Photo credit: Ell Kanokon Kutthongkhum

Photo credit: Ell Kanokon Kutthongkhum

There is immense diversity in Indian embroidery techniques, ranging from one cultural group to another. The different types of embroidery are named after the tribal or sub-cultural group the embroidery style belongs to. A few of the popular embroideries done in Kachchh include Rabari, Suf, Jat, Marwari, Ahir, Pakko and Khaarek.

REVIVAL Style’s collections include mostly all Ahir embroidery, done by the Ahir tribal people, native to the Kachchh region of Gujarat, India. Ahir embroidery is known for being very fine, intricate and clean. Another common trait of Ahir work is the outline done in most of their designs. Our artisans have a range of traditional Ahir embroidery designs that they have carried forward from previous generations. Some of these traditional designs have evolved and adapted to meet contemporary needs. Through a collaborative and creative process, we work together on finalizing embroidery placement, design and colorways for REVIVAL Style’s collections. Embroidery is a labour-intensive process and requires sharp focus and attention to detail. Of all craft techniques, embroidery takes the longest amount of time to complete a single piece; even after a 4 to 6 hour work day, just a small portion of the embroidery is completed.

Craft in India has a gender dimension to it. Hand loom weaving is mostly always done by men however this is shifting now with more and more women weavers picking up the craft from men in their family. Hand done embroidery however, has traditionally always been and continues to be done almost exclusively by women. From a historical perspective, the gendering of craft can be explained by the division of labour inside and outside the home in rural India. Men worked in fields outside the home. Women on the other hand, always stayed home, and in rural communities, often still do, looking after the home and children. Embroidery fits nicely into a domestic setting as it can be done in between household cleaning, cooking and child-rearing, giving women flexibility to get everything done in a day. An artisan may begin an embroidery piece, leave it for a few hours and then pick back up when she has some time.