Applique is a decorative artwork, in which one cloth is sewn or fixed onto another or a cloth is decorated by glass pieces, metals, wood or metal wires. The art of applique is regarded as one of the traditional artwork of ancient Muslims in India. It is said that Applique work came into India in the 19th Century either from Europe or Arabia in the Middle East through trade contacts. Applying fabric on fabric with the edges sewn down by thread and needle does this art of Applique. This is mainly practiced in Rajasthan and Odisha.
Types of Applique in Rajasthan
The two notable Applique works of Rajasthan are Gota and Kinari work. These Gota and Kinari are golden and silver coloured pieces and laces those are sewn on the cloth. Here in Gota work, the embroidery is made on a velvet cloth, which gives it a unique look. The Gota work uses the Applique works in both the classical and folk designs. The Gota work is mainly done on the costumes for women. Khandela in Shekhawati mainly prepares these items. Preparing geometrical models from square shaped coloured textile pieces in which dark earthy colours are used generally makes Applique. This is mainly done on quilts, known as Rallis of Jaisalmer.
The Barmer Applique is traditionally sewn on bedspreads of black and brown bases while the motifs are of natural scenes. In Rajasthan, women of 6 villages prepare these Appliqués. It takes about one month to prepare a complete bedspread.
The Barefoot College of Rajasthan teaches the Tilonia Applique to the women and it is adapted from Mandanas, which are traditional patterns on floors in Rajasthan.
Making of Applique in Rajasthan
Applique work of Rajasthan is mainly done on stunning red, purple, yellow, black, green and white fabric. The base is prepared first in the square shape, rectangular and circle shape or even in oval forms sometimes. This works as the background for that art piece. The Applique motifs of contrasting colours are then cut into various shapes like that of animals, birds, flowers, leaves, celestial bodies and geometric shapes. These variously shaped motifs are now stitched on the base cloths in artistic ways. Giving several folds makes raised motifs of the Applique. The intricate stitches such as bakhia, guntha, turpa, chikan and other embroidery techniques are the main elegant part of the Applique artwork. Recently, the use of small and bright mirror pieces has become popular in Rajasthan. The last work of the Applique is the stitching of the borders.
Family Involvement in Applique of Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, while preparing an Applique, the family gets involved. Those who are more experienced in the family do the intricate designs and the younger and less experience ones do the stitching of the borders and make the base clothes. The most eminent Rajasthani applique work is produced by the Marwari community. Due to the obscure workmanship, done by both men and women, it is believed that Rajasthani applique work of the Marwari community is influenced by the Egyptians.
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