Applique work of Gujarat – a backdrop

- Applique work in India can be traced back to the times when the women folk of the native communities of north Gujarat; the Kathis (the land owners), the Mahajans (the businessmen), the Rabaris (the nomad camel herders) and the Muslims produced large canopies, hangings, friezes, bullock-covers (Jhul), tents for ox-carts with human and animal figures stitched on them.

- Origin of applique can be identified by the style of fabrication, color usage, composition and the kind of forms of patterns used. Some of the old examples of this craft are full of patchwork with cotton and silk, Bandhani and Mashru fabrics, covered with exuberant imaginative forms, both symmetrical and asymmetrical.

- The applique technique was accompanied by a range of stitches which added more value by increasing the visual depth and surface richness. Another method known by the name of ‘Reverse appliqué’ in which cut work in the surface fabric forms the shape was also explored.

- The color palette of applique artists of Gujarat varies from warm to cool, on white, bright and festive to natural and neutral tones today.