Divya Singh | divyasinghbalhar@gmail.com

White on White: Design Intervention for the Craft of Chikankari

Guide Aditi Ranjan
Sponsor Aneeth Arora – Péro
Keywords Chikankari; rumals;Spring/Summer 2013;yardage

This project was about designing a range of fabrics for Spring/Summer 2013 based on the use of Chikankari embroidery, using appliqué work as a side technique. At least five rumals or scarves and five yardage materials had to be made for the international clientele. Within the company, there had to be an ethical basis of design, so all designs made had to be production-friendly.

Before final production, the craftspersons had to be trained to follow the designs that were chosen, as well as develop a range of samples using a variety of fabrics. It was important to choose the most successful stitch and fabric combinations to develop the range. It was essential to document the research done on stitches and designs so as to build a reference for the vocabulary within the Chikankari tradition.

Various fabrics such as gauze, fine cotton, malai cotton, Chanderi, Kota Doria, artificial silk, and Khadi fabrics were used. Patterns were explored for borders, edges, seams, buti’s, buta’s, and all over designs. After much experimentation, successful combinations were selected; these would be used on the rumals and yardage material. The yardage material was designed in such a way that it could be used in design details such as edges and layers in the clothing. These designs used a minimal colour palette of white on white.

This project was a good opportunity to work elaborately with Chikankari embroidery. It was nice to know more about the various embroidery techniques, the traditional language of Chikankari, the vocabulary of its stitches and designs, the attention to quality that each stitch demands, and about the perfection that used to be and still is intrinsic to Chikankari.
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