Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday Video: Exquisite Embroidery from India

Friday, March 4, 2016

Isabella reporting:

Professional embroiderers are few and far between in America today, but in India - which produces much of the world's commercial fine needlework - embroidery is still an art practiced commercially by both men and women. This short video was produced by the Victoria & Albert Museum in connection with their recent exhibition, The Fabric of India.

Here's the V&A's description for the video:

The embroiderers at the Sankalan embroidery design and production house in Jaipur, Rajasthan, practice a variety of stitch techniques to embellish fabrics by hand. The V&A followed their work on a lehnga, a wedding skirt, from traced outline to finished product. Only by slowing the footage could the incredibly fast stitching of ari embroidery be captured, as professionals perform it so rapidly it is nearly impossible to see with the naked eye.

The extremely fine hook that is being used in the video to create the chained stitches reminded me of tambour work (see my earlier post here) a kind of embroidery that was popular in the 18th-19thc. Since professionally embroidered textiles were being imported from India to France and England at the same time, I'm guessing that the technique was imported as well, and transformed with a larger hook and a French name into an elite lady's pastime. Do any of you needlework historians out there know for certain?


Tegan said...

Well my copy of Dillmont doesn't say, but she does say that "This method of crocheting in a frame is used only for very rich articles. It can be used for narrow borders for veils, headdresses, collars, and jabots; or for larger designs for trimming shawls, fans, the fronts of dresses, etc." So that's the word on the street from 1846.

blandina said...

There is a picture of Madame de Pompadour tambour embroidering here

Reina M. Williams said...

Amazing and beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

String said...

I watched the video before I read below and I immediately went "it looks like tambour!" The patterns I've seen in 18th-19th century tambour are often reminiscent of printed fabrics imported from India during that period.

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