Embroidering stories

Bright hues: There is one design from every district in Gujarat photo: Murali Kumar K.  

Purvi patel is from Ahmedabad, and made Bangalore her home 30 years ago. She is one of the partners of Vermilion House, a boutique on Cleveland Road, and will be showcasing her designs Vastra today and tomorrow in the city. Each of her creations has hand embroidery on it. Talking to Purvi is more like sitting in a history class. For every design she has an interesting story about the culture and history of a particular district or community. “I have done so much research that you will need a minimum of two hours to learn about them!” she says.

“I am a revivalist and have been designing for the last 26 years. My passion is to travel, interact with weavers and create designs. For this particular show, I travelled to different rural areas of Kutch for two months. It is interesting to see that every district has its distinct style of embroidery,” explains Purvi.

Then she picks up a blouse piece and says: “This one is created by the Ahir community that is known for rabbari work. And this other one is called the sickle embroidery, which is done by the wives of the carpenter community.”

Every work is created in bright hues on natural fabrics. On display there are saris in ikkat, patan patolas, salwars with ari work etc.

“There is only one family that is into weaving pattolas in Patan district now. Some of my designs are from the Ashavali border. The speciality of this is that the embroidery often includes designs of parrots and birds in varied hues.”

Then she shows off a duppatta with bead work, which is “done by a tribal community in Afghanistan. I managed to get my hands on this one piece in Ahmedabad,” beams Purvi.

There are also khadi kurtas, stoles with appliqué work from West Bengal’s Phulia district. From the Lambani community in Gujarat, Purvi has brought out the Lambadi mirror work embroidery and the famous Kutch work. She has used these traditional thread work on mulberry fabrics and kalamkari prints.

“This is a Gaji Duppatta. This fabric came into existence during the Mughal time on which folk patterns are embroidered. Here is a work that is called tekking. You see it is so intricate that you actually need an eye glass to see it,” she says and hands you the magnifying glass. True to her words the intricate thread wok comes alive through the glass.

Then she picks up a duppata with hand painting and says: “This one is Pichwai from Udaipur, where only natural dyes are painted with a brush made from a squirrel’s tail. I have used the same technique on this duppatta with folk patterns. You see the squirrel’s tail makes the lines so fine and intricate.”

Even the mirror work, she says come in the styles of miniature mirrors (“mostly found in Old Pakistan and now in the border areas of Kutch”), medium-sized mirrors “are done mainly in sickle work and the big mirrors, come with a French knit for every stitch and is called Lambadi work”.

Her collection also boasts of khadi from Surendranagar district.

“This is one place where every house weaves khadi. They weave khadi as plain or with designs that resemble kota checks. It is summer now and I have worked with natural fabrics. My aim is to get people to understand or wear khadi and cottons and not to make it a thing of the past. This particular show took me three months to put together. Even if people do not want to buy, I just want them to come and see the vast heritage that India has to offer. It will be more like an education on embroidery and I will be eager to explain to them the story behind every piece,” says Purvi.

The prices start Rs. 2,500 and the exhibition is on at Vermilion House from 10.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call on 41225830.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 5:03:34 PM |

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