Applique Art

Appliqué is a decorative design made of one material sewn over another. Based on patchwork, pieces of colored and patterned fabric is cut in different sizes and shapes and sewn together on a plain background to form a combined whole. Generally the appliqué work is decorated with glass pieces, beads, threads, metals, wood or metal wires.

Red, purple, black, yellow, green and white fabrics are mostly used in this craft. Appliqués are found in brilliant colors and are replete with traditional motifs and imageries.

In India, the art of appliqué has flourished in various states. Pipli, in Orissa, is particularly famous for its appliqué work. Originally, parasols, pillows and canopies were made by appliqué work for the Rathayatra of Jagannath Dev in Puri. With time, this art has found apt expressions in wall hangings, lampshades, accessories and garments.

In Andhara Pradesh Banjara women wear blouses and headscraves decorated with appliqué and mirror work. Rajasthan has its own tradition of appliqué. Known as ‘Gota Work' is an intricate form of appliqué worked out in ornate details with golden threads. Pieces of Zari ribbons are applied to form elaborate patterns.

Gota work is usually used to create women's formal wear. Shekhawati is one of the most important centers of this technique. Kathi – the rural work of Gujrat is attributed to the nomadic tribe of the same name. It is an unusual craft in which rich threadwork is combined with intricate appliqué, with mirrors enhancing the overall effect.

Applique work is now used on almost all things in fabric like clothes, bed sheets, lampshades and wall hangings. This native Indian handicraft has gained international prominence and is a much sought after work of art.

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