'Art never dies, it lives forever.'
Since immemorial, art has been a part of human life. We are surrounded by art that years ago our early humans created, we create in our everyday lives, and will keep creating till our very existence.
From colossal monuments to the smallest things like a cushion cover or the border of a saree has intricacies of the art in our lives.
What is Applique?
One such beautiful craft that came into existence by ancient Egyptians is 'Applique', which is still striving in the 21st century. The term Applique originates from French and Latin words appliquer and applicate respectively, which mean to join or attach.
Applique is a craft in which small pieces of fabric are sewn or glued together on a bigger piece of fabric. The technique came into existence as a means to patch the holes in the fabric and lengthen the life of the fabric, however, the craft was adapted for decoration and embellishment.
History of Applique in India
In India, the roots of applique artwork originated in a small village of Pipili in Odisha. That's why it is also known as Pipili Applique Artwork.
Even today, applique artwork is the major source of income in Pipili goan. Moreover, Pipili is recognized globally as the destination of traditional and contemporary applique work.
The Mahajans (businessmen), the Rabaris (nomadic camel herders), Mughals, and women of native communities in Gujarat used to produce hangings, canopies, umbrellas, tents for ox carts, etc with applique artwork on them.
Traditional motifs that were to be seen in the earlier days of applique art were parrots, camels, flowers, elephants, war scenes, peacocks, etc. While many others had mythical subjects like the half-moon, Rahu, etc. Earlier the colors used were limited to red, blue, white, black, brown, and green.
Applique in different communities
Different communities used different fabrics and designs exclusive to their culture in the applique technique. For example, darzis (tailors), used to make umbrellas and canopies with applique work featuring deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. On the other hand, Rabaris fused embroidery and patchwork, showcasing camels and scenes of the desert and countryside in multi-colored motifs.
Applique work in Bihar
Applique work in Bihar is known as 'kahatwa' used to decorate tents, canopies, and shamianas, etc. Folks of Bihar design Persian types of flowers, trees, animals, birds, and local stories. Kathwa was also used in decorating women's garments. The cutting and designing were done by the men while the women did the stitching work.
Applique work in Rajasthan
The applique work of Rajasthan is vibrant and lively with a blend of different colors such as red, green, yellow, blue, pink, and other bright colors. It can be seen on almost all things such as clothes, bedsheets, lampshades, and wall hangings. Rajasthani applique is done with embroidery to give it a majestic look. It majorly involves 'gota' and 'kinkari' work.
Gota and Kinari are golden and silver coloured pieces and laces that are sewn on the cloth.
Applique work in Gujarat
It is the women of the Rabari community, particularly in Gujarat’s Kutch region, who are most famed for their skills in hereditary art.
The craft is popular in the Saurashtra, Banaskantha, Patan and Kutch regions of Gujarat. The applique work is used to create attractive, vibrant quilts, wall hangings, linen, and clothing.
The applique artwork is so diversified across the globe with such rich history that it is flourishing even today. With a mission to 'never let the tradition die', Sitaraa after extensive research has brought the masters of applique art under one roof to produce contemporary designs inspired by the traditional ways.
The new collection - Khayamiya, will launch soon on the website. So if you want to add something to your wardrobe which has such a rich history and bright future, stay tuned!