TRADITION It is a burst of colour and creativity at the Patchwork Festival.Pushpa chari

The remarkable ingenuity of rural women of India comes to the fore at the Patchwork Festival which showcases exquisitely fashioned products, created by stitching together bits and pieces of discarded cloth. Some have embroidery such as Kantha while others include block prints, zari work and mirror embroidery; each item is a unique design which is typical of the work which women in Rajasthan and Gujarat specialise in.

It's this dazzling oeuvre of patchwork on cushions, umbrellas, wall hangings, saddle cloths and handbags that Silk Route's Cheryl Gonsalves unfolds at the Patchwork Festival. It is a fascinating textile story crafted by traditional artisans, darzis, embroiderers, designers, seamstresses and lace makers, and is eco-friendly.

Says Cheryl, “Patchwork is no random art, though we do have a few inventive ‘Eureka' moments. It is about bringing together various concepts and allowing the artisan and designer to play around with an amazing range of textures, colours, patterns and craft embellishments to create a new product.”

Merging techniques

In the past, patchwork was about creating a kantha quilt or a brilliant ‘lehenga' and ‘odhini'. Today, using the same technique you can make tops, saris, scarves and gift items such as boxes and table lamps.

Cheryl's brochure has stunning samples ranging from art pieces comprising diamond shaped fabric pieces in moss green, grey and beige, to bed covers in uneven stripes or with a jaali effect.

Says Cheryl, “Traditional patchwork artisans Shankar and Vishwa have put together the samples along with Silk Route's design team comprising Prema, Sheela and Radhika. They sew the different sized patches. They also employ running stitch and cross stitch techniques as well as ribbon work, sequinned with zari work. Once the pieces have been stitched together, we attach the border and do the backing.” Cheryl also outsources work to the inmates of convents, cheshire homes and vocational training centres.

Patchwork Festival has an eye-catching collection of casual wear and a couture line of silk tops, cotton kurtas, shifts and dresses, patchwork skirts, balloons pants, scarves and dupattas. For interiors, there is an array of bed linen, quilts, dining table cloths, runners, muslin covers, throws, wall hangings and curtains. Also available are soft toys, trays, coasters and photo frames.

The Patchwork Festival is on at Silk Route, No.14, 2 Avenue, Harrington Road, till March 19.

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