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Timeless sands, vibrant colours

The sale brings traditional splendour into urban homes


THE ENSEMBLE of embroidery from the interiors of Kutch is back in Hyderabad. And it comes with a well-known label - Shrujan. Whoever would have thought that the Rann's desolate landscape could inspire such a multitude of colours? The Shrujan story started in an unusual manner, way back in 1969 when Kutch experienced a particularly severe drought. Many voluntary agencies and NGOs had rushed to the area, and so had Chandaben Shroff who had gone there to help in the kitchen organised by the Ramakrishna Mission. Shroff's realisation that the exquisite embroidery of this region could be modified for the urban and overseas markets with great benefit to the women resulted in the founding of Shrujan.

On display at Kalanjali till November 30 are a range of saris, salwars, bed-spreads, cushion covers, bags and shawls. All the items are lifted by one or the other of the 14 types of embroidery of the region whether is Soof or Ahir, which is a stencil based stitch, Jat which is a counted thread embroidery or Kambira. The motifs are traditional - the familiar peacock and tree of life - and impossibly intricate turning each piece into a designer item.

The sinuous folds of tussar rub shoulders with the wispy chanderis, while gajji silks and Mangalagiris compete for attention. The smaller items include drawstring bags and beaded and belled thoranams. The range also includes pillow covers, wall hangings with matching beaded tassels and decorative knick-knacks.

Each group and community in the area has its own particular style of embroidery and lexicon of stitches and motifs. By adapting traditional craft to contemporary tastes, Shrujan has ensured the easy marketability of the products. At the same time, it's the colours that are pleasing. Rusts merge with russets and browns with oranges and blues with indigo in a pleasing array of cushion covers that draw on the Surya, Oman, Fulwari and Bundi designs. Shrujan works with 15 distinct embroidery styles and has been instrumental in saving a few from extinction.


Their statements in ethnic chic have revealed the wealth of Indian treasures to the world and the exhibition is held at this time of the year to also target the visiting NRI shopping for a stake in our timeless culture. Prices range from Rs. 450-Rs.15000.

The faceless women of Kutch embroider on refusing any kind of charity. Naturally, the beauty of this thought reflects in the work. In reds, greens, yellows and colours of the earth, the un-crushable Kutchi enterprise comes out with flying colours.

DEEPA ALEXANDER

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