Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Emboidery by the Kutchi in India

In a remote part of India, one woman has established a movement to revive a local form of artistic expression, hand embroidery, creating a sustainable means of income. The region of Kutch once had a long and rich tradition of embroidery which made a welcome contrast to the regions austere landscape. But, from the 1960s onwards, synthetic materials and machine work pushed this craft close to extinction.

"An idea at the intersection of conservation, education, enterprise and empowerment; an idea that could light a fire, especially in the hearts of the younger generation.

Acutely aware of its cultural, social and spiritual value, Chanda Shroff is preserving this unique heritage while promoting an exquisite art form and empowering women in highly conservative societies.

Demonstration of Kutch embroidery, an ancient form of Indian embroidery with its roots from the region of Kutch,Gujarat,India. Taught at Mridula's School of Embroidery http://www.mridulas.com

The women in a tiny village in Kutch augment their earning with the help of Judy by creating theri traditional embroidery with a certain gusto.

State of the Arts visits with Alpa Thakkar, an Indian skilled at traditional Gujarati Kutchi embroidery. Alpa is by profession a jeweler, however, in her off time, she enjoys making the colorful embroidered clothing worn by Indian women for Navrati and other festivals. (Excerpt from the State of the Arts special, Culture in Context).
Find out more about traditional artists in New Jersey at http://www.cultureincontext.org or visit the State of the Arts website: http://www.njn.net/artsculture/

Ccreener for Through The Eye of a Needle: Stories from an Indian Desert distributed by Contemporary Arts Media http://www.artfilms.com.au.

The film is the story of a unique group of craftswomen. Follow their journey as they return to creating the world-class embroidery that made their ancestors famous. The incredible stories of the women from the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan co-operative (KMVS) are recorded here through video, song, laughter, and stitch.

History here is worn as generations of knowledge are passed down through embroidered designs. Long a valuable item of trade, the embroideries also provide a common ground for women to meet and bring their stories to the world. Experience the amazing landscape of the Kutch desert on Indias western border, the remarkable diversity of the communities who live here, and the breathtaking colours of their textiles.

Born from a need to document the evanescent world of craft the film is part of a 4 film series of compelling and insightful documentaries.

Working mainly with India, but also with several other areas, the films document the production of embroidered, block printed, hand-woven, and naturally dyed textiles. Focusing on areas where excellence is still the tradition, these documentaries are deeply concerned with the viability of craft and the lives of the artisans.

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May our hands bring beauty upon this Earth!