Artisan handcrafted embroidery is the most beautiful and most prosperous form of art which involves handcrafting of colorful threads on different fabrics for adornment; in other words, we could say that it is the skill of painting with needles on a drapery with fascinating filaments to provide it with an aesthetic appeal.
- Handcrafted Embroidery
Consequently, this culture of handcrafted artisan embroidery is a thousand years old practiced by different artisans of Pakistan varying different period’s cultures in their unique designs.
People have got excellent skills of this needlework and have been producing the Embroided Kurtis (shirts), bed sheets, table cloths, cushion covers, handkerchief, dresses, and other essential products.
Even now, there is great demand and love among people for these embroidered clothing and other handicrafts. Fascinatingly, this form of art also fills colors and happiness in people’s lives with an aesthetic and artistic outlook.
Moreover, the designs and patterns vary according to different regions and cultural demands. Some parts prefer brighter colors and contrast, while some prefer light and pastel colors. According to these patterns, the material is selected; for example, the fabric of silk, cotton, linen, wool, velvet, and other material.
Through the needle, the threading for patterns could be done using colorful threads, beads, pearls, metallic threads, quills, feathers, wool, silk threads, and other different materials skilled hands. Nonetheless, the processes involved are one of the oldest ways to conform to tradition through these attractive patterns.
Furthermore, the importance of embroidery among people is due to its custom of status symbol identification. As the techniques involved in its making are highly tricky and time-consuming, they contain a more significant status and value for its use among people. Hence, people worldwide mostly use it to beautify their dresses, especially for occasions like religious events, weddings, parties, cultural events, and other essential functions. This needlework has an extraordinary history attached to religious institutions and dates its origin back to at least 4500 years.
Kinds of Handcrafted Embroidery
Artisan embroidery could be of several types, which are described as follows;
These are colorful designs and patterns made up of counted thread embroidery and a traditional ancient Italian handcrafted cross-stitch method with countable threads.
In this type, the process involves cross-stitching in the frame’s background while the leading print is only outlined and left emptied from the inside. Subsequently, it could be done on linen or even weave fabrics.
The thread colors used could be red, blue, green, etc. for background fillings and brown and black for outlining.
Seemingly, its origin is from Assisi’s town in Italy, where it is crafted initially and designed.
This is a handcrafted technique of artisan embroidery, done by mainly using black colored threads. However, exceptions could be made sometimes.
Conventionally, the process mostly involves black silk threads embroidered on white linen or cotton drapery, yet sometimes the color combination may vary. However, sometimes the process involves counted thread embroidery on even-weave cloth.
On the other hand, this type of work consists of printed patterns and designs filled inside the outline with geometric patterns. The practices of flowers, leaves, vines, and other pictures are outlined, filled with various needlework designs.
It is another form of artisan needlework manufactured using surface embroidery technique, which involves rayon thread in the sewing process. Consequently, the process is highly colorful patterned and primarily involves floral prints using various knotted and cast on stitches for an appealing outlook. Fascinatingly, these prints and designs are highly attractive and original, providing a natural and aesthetic view.
This is a favorite type of needlework that involves a canvas for embroidery instead of a piece of fabric.
Although the work is done on a canvas, needles and threads are still a necessary handcraft element, for instance, wool, silk, metallic stings, cotton, and other thread materials.
Subsequently, this form of art is used to make products like handbags, book covers, chair covers, decoration pieces, and other household artifacts.
Chicken Scratch Embroidery
This artisan embroidery is mainly done on the gingham fabric, a check-shaped or square-shaped printed cloth. Various cotton threads use the technique of cross-stitching on the square printed material.
Throughout the phenomenon, chicken scratch is exhibited on the fabric by making intricate and lacy patterns that are used for household products.
For example, this chicken scratch embroidery is used for pillow covers, table cloth, apron, bed sheets, and other decorative items.
This type is quite rare and hard to find, which is similar to Assisi artisan embroidery. Because the patterns are filled in the background, and dark shaded threads thickly outline the primary picture.
Subsequently, the outlining stitches used are relatively more massive, which are stem stitch and chain stitch.
Also, these are made by combining surface stitches and counted work to unify the needle craft.
Counted Cross Stitch
This is the most popular type of needlework used and could be found easily.
The art is done using several cross stitches on an even weave fabric, which is a gridded patterned cloth. After the interest in people developed for ancient art, the importance of needlework and its dedicated worker’s skill also increased.
Also, the innovation of mixed stitches came in combination with cross stitches, especially in European countries.
Crazy Quilting Embroidery
This is a prevalent type of quilt embroidery that started from the Victorian age and is becoming more widespread throughout the world.
Subsequently, this process is done using irregular scraps of fabric to re-create into new quilts on which embroidery is done to beautify the quilts.
The artisans could use any design and thread material for cloth, according to their talent, to incorporate artisan embroidery.
Moreover, the modern crazy quilting techniques are quite interesting and providing a landscape of nature.
For example, the images of blue sky, green leaves, water, green hills, and other naturistic views are printed and embroidered on these crazy quilts.
This is a well-known ancient art that has its origin from the early medieval period and gained fame in the Jacobean age.
Subsequently, the needlework is done by using wool threads.
The incorporating images of flowers, birds, beasts, and other animals are usually formed in the center.
However, in the light of the present scenario, moderation’s are adapted to as many different threads have taken wool.
It is an old and famous type of needlework, in which patches of fabric are cut down to enhance the beauty of the design and pattern. Also, the outlines of the patches cut are stitched with embroidery by the artisans to provide a fine finishing to the fabric. Mostly, the thread of white color is used for the stitches on the background of the cutwork. Subsequently, the material used in the process is linen or cotton. The embroidery is done basically on the table cloth, bed sheets, dresses, and other household items.
Drawn Thread Embroidery
This type is done by doing weft and wrap needlework on the fabric of even-weave by counted thread technique. The process is sometimes consisting of whitework and surface embroidery, in which threads are used to form a lacy pattern by some stitches usually relied upon cross stitches.
It is the most valued and expensive needlework, which only skilled artisans could handle and maintain quality.
Consequently, this type in ancient history was made for special military people, kings, higher classes, and other nobles, which also works as a social identity.
However, the needlework involves both pure metals made threads and artificial metal threads for the fabrics’ embroidery.
Primarily, goldwork is popularly used for dresses and clothes, while other products also include this work.
Jacobean embroidery is a needlework designed patterns of flowers, leaves, vines, birds, and other animal patterns with many threads
Mostly popular among the Jacobean age people, however, is confused with the similar crewel embroidery.
This is famous Irish needlework, easily found in the town of Mountmellick.
Subsequently, it is a technique of whitework done by white threads on a piece of cotton fabric.
The patterns made are floral prints mostly related to the town’s original nature.
Needle Lace Embroidery
This is the technique for the manufacture of lace with thread and needle embroidery.
Subsequently, these could be imprinted on a tissue, paper, net, or other lighter fabrics.
After the pattern is made, they could be attached to different materials for beautification.
here are many kinds of needle lace embroidery, Point de Gaze, Ruskin Lace, Armenian lace, Reticella, Punto in Aria, Alencon Lace, Rose Point, Gros Point de Venise, Filet lace, and many more.
Needle painting is a technique of filling an embroidery outline with colorful threads using needles. The demand for hand-embroidered needle painting is as high as any other artistic embroidery design, as the original techniques made it more unique. A variety of fabrics and stitching threads could be used without any specification.
This is a popular and expensive type of needlework done in a combination of drawn thread work, whitework, and pulled thread work. Subsequently, it has its origin in Germany and was imitated by Dresden lace, which could only be manufactured by expert artisans and is quite expensive.
Silk Ribbon Embroidery
This is an old technique of needlework using silk ribbon and silk threads.
The designs and patterns are handcrafted through needles and are having floral motifs with detailed imprinting and structure.
This is an old dimensional needle impression technique used to provide a more realistic and beautiful outlook to the floral designs.
The stitches used are complicated for the pattern’s inner fillings and simple stitches for the outer lines.
Surface Embroidery (freestyle)
This type is used in most of the needlework, as there are no rules and specifications for embroidery in it.
In this work, the designs and patterns are dependent upon the imagination and creativity of the artisan.
Most of the embroideries fall under this kind, as only threads and needles are required in it.
The Benchmark Motifs of a Design
Embroidery is based on the selection and quality of a design, which has specific motifs and principles attached to it. An artisan does select an exciting method for a suitable type of product, which has some elements to make the process successful.
Subsequently, the characteristics of design primarily involve the color choice of the fabric and threads, which should be having a perfect intensity (the brightness or dullness also known as saturation), hue (for example, any color like red, blue, green, etc.) And value (brightness or lightness of a color).
Secondly, another fundamental element of a line or mark is selected carefully, which is used to symbolize the instructions or outlines. Thirdly, the shape and form feature plays a vital role in the design, consisting of two- or three-dimensional objects with a particular height, width, and dept. Formerly, the elements of space and texture are decided, which helps determine the size, width, and illusional depth of a surface area and material quality of the texture or surface (for example, rough, smooth, open, etc.).
Furthermore, the fundamental principles of design in embroidery, which every artisan follows, involve dominance, harmony, contrast, variety, gradation, rhythm, scale, and balance in the manufacturing methods. The balance in the arrangement of the elements and materials is primarily maintained to ensure stability in it. Then the area of focus within the design is becoming dominant. This is followed by a balance of elements, consisting of similar and repeated procedures to create a unity of creation. Further, the principle of perfect contrast is applied, which denotes the substantial difference in the elements.
Consequently, it is followed by the step by step changes, and later a variety of new elements are added to make the design more appealing. Besides, the principle of rhythm is used to apply movement to a format. Lastly, the size and proportion of the object are decided, which builds the whole design elements as one to unify the quality of the product.
The Factors Influencing Embroidery
Embroidery is a careful step-by-step process that depends on several factors and principles to achieve the best quality of the fabric. However, five main factors influence the embroidery.
- Firstly, the selection of designs matters the most, as there are various kinds of embroideries based on each design.
- Secondly, the materials we use influence the product because some materials are considered more valuable and beautiful than others.
After selecting materials, it is made sure that the fabric matches the quality of those materials. Later, the color combination is chosen for the product according to the demand of the people. Finally, the use and importance of detailed embroidery are considered to influence the outcome.
Pakistani Hand Embroidery
Pakistani hand embroidery is one of the most popular and ancient traditional art for needlework in the world.
As Pakistan’s neighboring countries of India, China, Afghanistan, and Iran have various famous embroidery cultures from which Pakistan has adapted different techniques and designs and has formed a mixed needlework culture.
People from worldwide values the artistic hand embroidery of Pakistani dresses and other handicrafts. Mostly, Pakistan’s women love to dress in perfect traditional embroidered attire for their weddings, engagements, family functions, Eid festivals, cultural days, and other important events.
Moreover, many Mughal embroidery ideas and designs came from the time of partition and historical artisans. Pakistani dresses are rich with these aesthetic embroidered designs, commonly used as valuable handcrafted dresses for weddings and Eid festivals.
Other embroidery crated products are made by artisans like pottery, bags, handkerchiefs, pillow covers, sofa covers, curtains, and further decorated objects.
In light of the present scenario, we could observe that these aesthetic handcrafted fabrics are more expensive than machine-made needlework. However, demand is still very high.
Handmade art is always given the topmost position in the standard as it is unique and original, which no machine could copy with a similar quality of design.
People wore hand-printed dresses of Kurtis (shirts), saris (Indian wear), shalwar kameez (Pakistani dress), maxis (long frocks), gowns’, printed dupattas (scarfs), and other variety of dresses to show their social standing and unique dressing sense.
Scope of Embroidery in Pakistan
The scope of artisan embroidery business in Pakistan is very high; as most of the women here are expert embroider in the rural areas. They do needlework as a habit, more than a job. Pakistani Women Artisans and many skilled men are also investing their time and dedication in this field of art.
They work day and night with hard work, love, and commitment to give the best quality, aesthetic outlook, and a better quantity of products. Even then, they are not earning accordingly. People who share them order-pay them short amounts and flourish their business on other poor people’s labor. However, most of the entrepreneurs are spending their investments in this area of interest for doing this business, as Pakistani people spend an impressive amount on their dresses.
Handcrafted and original fabrics are the newly famous fashions and costs too much, which the higher classes use as a personality enhancing attire. Not only the people of the state but the people from all over the world order and demand Pakistani hand-printed karahi and embroidered dresses with great fascination and interest, as for them it’s the purest form of art which also symbolizes the hard work, dedication, and love its creators has poured in it, Which is also helping the economy earn a more considerable amount of foreign money. That is why the country is paying attention to its textile and artisan industries.
Significance of Embroidery
Embroidery enhances the beauty of any simple fabric and serves the purpose of beautification of different products. As Pakistani people mostly prefer hand imprinted needlework for their essential occasions of weddings and Eid festivals, there is a greater demand for this art. Moreover, these handicrafts’ trade value is excellent, as its craftsman’s skills are empowered throughout the world.
This needlework’s basic form is printed dresses, Kurtis, hang bags, curtains, sofa covers, and other household items. Subsequently, the needle impressions also identify the social status of different categories of people. The materials of precious metals are valued among these people. However, it is a matter of traditional pride, and cultural values for some people as some of the designs are ancestral and are respected for their religious and cultural history.
On the other hand, the quality obtained by the dedication and hard work of the artisans is more expensive and precious due to their distinctive features and originality. These craftsmen worked day and night only to provide the best quality. Nonetheless, in light of the present world, the significance of needlework is daily, as most people are using accessories and products of these needle impressions with great interest and pleasure.
The Demand for Pakistani Embroidery
Pakistan has various cultures, religions, and many different casts, which leads its arts and crafts into a mixed cultural approach. However, people of any culture support all regional cultures and traditions; that is why various embroideries are promoted throughout the country without distinguishing cast and religion. These needle impressions are known as different terms, which are described as follows;
- Marrori: It is a Balochi embroidery type, which involves the twisted tilla thread for making a more comprehensive thread for needlework. Then the twisted Dori (cord) is needled with cable in the fabric for beautiful Marrori designs.
- Sacha kaam: The words ‘Sacha kaam’ means pure work. Subsequently, the Sacha kaam involves the pure silver stings and threads, making the designs more appealing. The silver threads are weaved by the artisans carefully on the fabric. This work was done by Hindus and Mughals and is transmitted to Pakistani culture from them.
- Sitara (sequins): These tiny sparkling discs have a hole in the center for stitching, which is stitched with needle and threads. These are used in sparkling dresses for a special occasion.
- Dabka: Dabka is a spring shaped tube needlework and could be of pure metals or copper wires. However, this is the most famous embroidery work used for wedding assembles and other more massive crafts.
- Aari: This is the most famous and ancient type of needlework which only expert and skilled professionals can manufacture. It is originated a thousand years ago and is transmitted from the professionals of the Mughal empire. These prints are highly unique and were used by royal blood.
- Tilla: These are the most precious and expensive handcrafted needle works made from pure metal strings like silver and gold. However, these could be used distinctively or with the designs of Aari, Dabka, for other embellishments. Also, it looks similar to the Marrori print.
- Kamdani: This is fine needlework of gold and silver on a fabric with a special needle. Skilled artisans are only able to craft these patterns with hand easily while maintaining its quality.
- Zardosi: These involve pure gold printing patterns, having intricate processes that could only be carried by highly skilled workers. This is the most precious form of embroidery in eastern countries.
- Gotta: This is the most popular form of embroidery in Pakistan, which is done by a special kind of metallic ribbons—mostly used for border decoration. At the same time, some floral filaments are also done on shirts.
Summary Artisan Embroidery from Pakistan
The impression of embroidery is the most attractive and significant form of art, which is practiced worldwide. These are some of the women’s essential talents from a significantly earlier age, while men also pursue talent as a profession.
Subsequently, the embroidery is considered the colorful imprinting of various threads, which are painted artistically on the fabrics with a needle. This art also provides colors to the products used and enhances the beauty of the people using it. However, the artisans should be professionally expert in these fields to consume a higher quality of patterns and designs.
Moreover, there are several varieties for different methods of its manufacture and patterns. The main factors include selecting the design, choice of materials and equipment, fabric selection, color scheme, and uses and embroidery projection. Besides, famous forms of embroidered products are cushion covers, bed sheets, table cloths, shirts, frocks, dresses, curtains, pottery, and other essential household objects.
In Pakistan’s present scenario, people value artisan embroidered fabrics more than any other form of clothing. Especially, Pakistani weddings and Eid festivals are the primary sources of its use people from different varieties wear embroidered clothing of Dabka, Aari, Gotta, Zardozi, Kamdani, Sitara, Marrori, and another karahi (embroidered) designs. Nonetheless, people wear it with pride in cultural attire, traditional heritage, and social symbol. Most importantly, they use embroidery to enhance their beauty with artistic and aesthetic designs.
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