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Indian Crafts >> Applique
Indian Crafts - Applique
History of Applique

The roots of the applique art/craft form is intertwined with the rituals and traditions of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the Puri temple. The applique items are mainly used during processions of the deities in their various ritual outings. Items like chhati, Tarasa and Chandua are used for the purpose.The craft is traditionally practised by a caste of professional tailors, known as Darjis.

Applique, the art of patch work, is an integral part of Gujarat and its world of folk art. The decorative needle work of Gujarat, has a distinctive style of its own.

Applique is a craft, which has waste piece of cloth as its raw material. Articles produced by this craft were used by kings and emperors and the nobility in the past. The shamiana and chandowa, the two principal items of this craft, continue to be used today for all religious and social ceremonies.
Fine Art
Originally the main applique items were built up around the temple and its festivals, large highly decorated umbrellas, tents and pavilions. Now they are used as beach and garden umbrellas, smaller sizes as lamp shades, canopies for parties, tents for public gatherings etc. The motifs used are fairly varied yet fixed and consist of stylised representations of flora and fauna as well as a few mythical figures. Of the more common of these motifs are elephant, parrot, peacock, ducks, creepers, trees, flowers, half-moon, the sun and Rahu (a mythical demon who devours the sun).

Coloured, left-over pieces of cloth or stitched together to make toran chaklas, chanderawas etc. Motifs in brilliant colours are cut out and stitched on to the material. These are usually peacocks with their tails unfurled, elephants with a rider, or a horse carrying a warrior, in addition to floral patterns.

The applique work of Bihar called khatwa is famed for decorative tents and canopies used on ceremonial occasions. The designs on tents are the usual Persian type trees, flowers, animals, birds. The kanats tented walls carry stylised tree forms with juxtaposed animals at the base. All the basic traditional designs are collected on a piece of cloth as a master chart called awalkhana, from which the children begin to learn by copying.
Applique, which is a French term, is a technique by which the decorative effect is obtained by superposing patches of coloured fabrics on a plain basic fabric. The edges of the patches being sewn in some form of stitchery. It is distinct from patch work in which small pieces of cut fabrics are usually joined side by side to make a large piece of fabric or for repairing a damaged fabric.The basic material for applique is cloth. Flat motifs are first cut from cloth and specially prepared motifs are made separately. If more than one of the same cut motifs is required, than a stencil is used. These cut and specially prepared motifs are then superimposed on a base cloth in predetermined layout and sequence. The edges of the motifs are turned in and skillfully stitched on to the base cloth or stitched by embroidery or without turning as necessary. The specially prepared motifs may be coloured or white. Some of the specially prepared motifs have exclusive embroidery work and some have mirror work. The stitching process varies from item to item and come under six broad categories, namely, (a) bakhia, (b) taropa, ganthi, (d) chikana, (e) button-hole, and (f) ruching.The layout of various motifs and patterns vary according to shape of the piece. The canopy has a large centre pieces which may be a square. This centre piece is then bounded by several borders of different widths, one outside the other, till the edge is reached.

Gujarat applique is mainly based on patchwork, in which coloured and patterned fabric is finely cut in different sizes and shapes. It is then sewn together on a plain background to form a composite piece. The whole charm of an applique lies in the contours of each individual inset piece. The stitch done on each individual bit is not hidden, but adds to the art. Infact, gaudy colours of thread are used to show out distinctly.

Generally two types of applique work is done by women in Bihar: the first type is prepared by them for their personal use and the second for commercial purposes. The latter is an interesting legacy of olden times when a variety of kanatas walled enclosure, samianas canopies and tents, with different types of brocades and patch-work were prepared. The samianas made with applique work designs even today continue this age old tradition. The designs and motifs generally prepared on the kanatas the side wall of the samianas are freerer. These are cut out of a piece of the desired cloth and stitched on to the basic material with the help of a few rough stitches. Then the edges are turned quickly and motifs stitched on to the background in a beautiful cloth is generally manner. The background cloth is generally dark red or deep orange and the motifs are prepared in white with some portions in blue.The design of the samiana also is cut out of one piece of material which is usually the size of the background material. They carefully prepare and join both the pieces, and then nip and turn the cutout portions which are finally stitched with the original cloth. The men cut out the patterns to be stitched to samianas and kanatas and the women workers in the villages do the entire stitching. Applique is also done by women on their own garments. Here stylised motifs are cut and stitched on to a fabric so that the pattern emerges in two colours. Energy and passion seem to find expression through vibrant scarlets, oranges, yellows, and provide the key to the mood and the tempo.
Basic Material : Cloth, patches of coloured fabrics, thread, stencil, scissor
Colouring Material : Colours (red, black, white, yellow and green)

Basic Material : Pieces of coloured and patterned fabric cutted in different sizes.

Basic Material : Different types of silk, brocade, needle, thread

needle, a pair of scissors, waste cloth

Traditional umbrellas, canopies, trasa fans, saris, cholis, household linen, tents and pavilions, beach and garden umbrellas, lamp shades , small , shoulder bags, wall hangings, bed covers, pillow covers, letter pouches

torans, chaklas, chanderwas

Shamiana, chandowa, khatwa, cushion-cover, curtains, tea cosies, table cloths, blouse pieces, sari borders

Indian Crafts : History of Applique