CRAFT TECHNIQUE: Leather Work (in Kutch Gujarat) + Kutch Embroidery (Suf)
LEATHER WORK IN KUTCH (Gujarat, India) was earlier on a partnership between the Maldharis (nomadic pastoralist) experts in tanning, and the Dalit Meghwals (leather, stitching and embroidery craftsmen) migrants from Rajasthan. This craft was traditionally used to make harnesses for camels and horses, musical instruments, storage containers and footwear, once the local leather was very good, durable and even resistant to water. In our days, Kutch Leather Work is a means of business and livelihood for many villages in the region.
SUF is a painstaking embroidery based on the triangle, called a "Suf". Suf is counted on the warp and weft of the cloth in a surface satin stitch worked from the back. Motifs are never drawn: each artisan imagines her design and then counts it out in reverse! Skilled work thus requires an understanding of geometry and keen eyesight. A Suf artisan displays virtuosity in detailing, filling symmetrical patterns with tiny triangles, and accent stitches.
KALA RAKSHA is a grassroots social enterprise committed to documenting and promoting existing traditions of art and craft of Kutch region in north Gujarat, India. The Trust maintains a collection of heirloom textiles that functions as a resource base for artisans to study and create exquisite contemporary work.
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