Behind The Scenes

Weaving – Fabric

Hand-weaving is a family tradition limited to villages and comprises use of several types of threads to create fabric with innumerable patterns. Khaadi, a material that takes birth from hand-spun yarn, is said to be most superior due to its distinct characteristic of keeping cool in summer and giving warmth in winter. The uneven texture gives space for air and makes it exceptionally soft unlike machine made cotton that has undergone extreme stress.

While visiting Bikaner we spent a couple of hours in Raisar and Udasar where some of the ladies expressed how blissful they felt in using the Charkha or Spinning Wheel during their leisure hours. They were also disheartened as lower demand and diminishing income has been pulling them away from this hobby. Wood and iron were originally used to construct a ‘Charkha’ and given as dowry to daughters during their wedding. The design has now been degraded with use of bicycle wheels and some wooden strips as the frame. Youth in rural zones look down on this skill and much like city dwellers they find prestige in being part of industrialization.

Currently, fabric woven from mill spun yarn has replaced Khaadi due to lack of practice and shortage of workers using a spinning wheel, yet, we are happy that hasn’t discouraged production of hand-woven items like quilts, pillow cases, mats, stoles, etc. We would be happy to create exclusive Khaadi items should you wish to procure them and do not find them in our range displayed on the website.

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Weaving – Recycled Plastic

We’ve learnt from our school days that plastic does not easily break down to dissolve into soil due to its properties. Science has an in-depth explanation for this, which can be learnt over the internet or printed media. With recent alerts of global warming and its causes, an emerging group of individuals and corporates are taking responsibility to be part of the solution.

It was a coincidence that Artnique’s quest successfully led to a tie-up with an NGO in the region of Kutch that has pioneered recycled plastic weaving. They’ve managed to boost employment for waste collectors and related communities that were uninterested in maintaining a process for appropriate garbage disposal. We commend them for converting a problem into forms of art and increasing participation of weavers from all age groups. Taking upon a duty to infuse habits of using environment-friendly products, we are proud to facilitate purchase of these eco-friendly creations.

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A vast subject to describe, the infinite forms of embroideries are stitched on innumerous products and retailed globally. As a whole, the skill does not necessarily need an introduction yet there are certain techniques associated with regions of Western India where Artnique visualizes throwing the spotlight.

Suf – Based on a triangular motif created by working from the reverse side of the textile, many geometrical arrangements are made without pre-sketching.

Khaarak – Constitutes squares and bars which are drawn to give an indication of the outcome that the satin stitch filling will ultimately display.

Pakko – Unlike the previous two forms of embroidery, this is a floral pattern with possibility of larger layouts.

Rabari – A nomadic inspired skill involving abstract designs in chain stitch with mirrors often inserted to enhance the effect. The varieties of colors utilized in a tasteful and organized manner are eye-catching.

The precision and expertise of these ladies are apparent in the pieces from our collection. We had a face-to-face interaction with some of the young women in Rajasthan’s village named Pugal. They were ecstatic in exhibiting their personally hand-stitched trousseau. It is said that the in-laws make a judgment by their craftsmanship prior to confirming the marriage. Our reaction pursued them to pull out all their creations as no one in the vicinity cared to appreciate these beyond their wedding celebrations.

The tradition of passing this skill to daughters of the family is now diluting as education and modernization take over. In fact we conversed with a 21-year-old lady who already had the responsibility of two children and boasted of being academically more advanced than the rest of the girls in the neighborhood. Tempted to be different, she did not pursue embroidery as a hobby. Additionally, the lack of long-term benefit and acceptance by her in laws were sufficient reasons to escape the norm. This was a clear example of shifting mentalities of the community.

Analyzing human tendencies is not complicated when we observe groups of individuals migrating their actions towards what constantly brings wages. Both, inflow of income and survival have a pre-determined bond that we cannot ignore. Unless the level of demand and compensation for any talent is enlarged to an extent that it is adequate to support the ongoing requirements of those involved in it, continuity becomes a challenge.

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Rogan Art

Over 300 years old, this style of painting has an obvious Persian inspiration in its motifs. Kutch is recognized as the only city where these creations can be sourced. It originated some centuries ago among the Khatri community who moved to Gujarat from Sindh, Pakistan. In recent decades artists realized that the returns were not proportionate to the hard work they put in and hence the country saw a downfall of Rogan Art.

The method is painstaking with castor oil being heated over fire for more than twelve hours and poured into cold water. This produces a thick residue called Rogan, which is mixed with natural colors and stored in clay pots. The craftsperson places some paint on his palms and uses a stick or rod to delicately draw out from this a fine thread, which is painted to the cloth. The designs flow from their imagination and are done with absolute attention sitting on the floor.
All patterns are symmetrical since one corner of the fabric is painted and then folded to make an exact impression on the other half.

The Khatri family headed by Gafoorbhai Khatri is mustering courage to revive this skill by teaching young girls and inviting more artisans to be engaged. The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, had carried some unique pieces to the US in 2014 that were given as presents to the President, Barack Obama. Such gestures make it evident that the Government is conscious of rarity of this art and their backing is vital to preserve India’s ancient practices.

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Patch work

A familiar and commonly visible technique yet the end results are distinctive. The possibility to divide an image into smaller portions and build over with patches of fabric of your choice makes it so appealing. As easy as it may appear, the outcome may not be successfully complete if the pieces are not cut precisely to fit the gaps.

Artisans with weak eyesight or those not venturing into embroidery and other complicated forms of art easily adjust to this approach. Hence it opens doors for many giving them a basis to earn.

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