Last week there was a post called The Art Of Appliqué in India that I had originally written in 2001 after research in Indian textile history while a young faculty at NIFT Gandhinagar, when Tushita had been a student. I found it in an old folder and told Tushita that I would be posting it, she was excited as she has been working on revisiting Indian textile traditions, specially embroidery, and immediately shared her work. Thank you Tushita ❤
A note by the artist:
What motivated me and my source of inspiration.
I graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar, Gujarat in May 2004. Since then, I have worked as an Apparel Designer with various export and buying houses and engaged with buyers worldwide for top brands including Massimo Dutti, Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Mango, Hallhuber, Anthropologie, and Free People.
I completed my Post Graduation in Cultural Management from IGNCA, New Delhi and Post Graduation in Indian Aesthetics from Jnanapravaha, Mumbai.
In the past 18 years, I have closely observed how hand embroidery techniques seem to be losing its rightful place in the segment of surface ornamentation.
The core idea behind my creating and designing these hand embroidered artworks is to highlight the beauty and importance of hand embroideries, which seem to be diminishing- thanks to the adoption of fast fashion labels across the globe.
With this humble attempt, I wish to elevate hand embroidery to a more artistic and tasteful level. I believe it is true luxury and should be given its rightful place in a world of computer-based embroideries and digital prints.
The treatment of artisans in this sector is something I feel strongly about. Many hand embroidery artists, particularly the ones employed in Indian exports, were badly affected during the pandemic and suffered job losses. The idea is to not only design new embroidery artworks but through this, meaningfully preserve the art of hand embroidery and encourage other hand embroidery artists to to creatively experiment with their skills.
I love observing the patterns of land and water bodies and they emerge as a strong source of design inspiration for my embroidery artworks . A Bird’s eye view of various terrains is something that captures my imagination. It is an immersive experience to design and play around with a wide variety forms, colours and textures and materials.
My color palette is largely natural and earthen tones with a few surprise hints of colours spread around the artworks.
I use a lot of appliqué techniques in these artworks to give a three dimensionality feel. Also, it provides a conscious break from embroidery textures and helps to enhance a particular colour or fabric.In a recently completed artwork below, I have used Black silk Organza appliquéd on off – white felt. A wide range of textures are created using various beads, sequins and intricate thread work.
I work with an expert embroidery artisan daily to create these artworks at my Design Studio in New Delhi, India.
I conceptualize, hand paint the backgrounds on fabrics and even foil print some of them. I then guide the artisan to create the textures through various styles of hand embroideries. This process is extremely creatively satisfying – for both of us.
My artworks are available for viewing on my Instagram handle @bluerabbithole . All these embroidered artworks are eventually framed upon completion and prepared for exhibits and direct sales.
(All photos and text by Tushita Singh)