“Mirror, mirror on textile
How beautifully you adorn the fabrics …”
Shisha/Mirror work is a very important part of textile industry in India. Mirror embroidery which is used in saris, dresses, bed-sheets, cushion covers, bags, etc is very much in demand all over the world. It’s one of the inevitable features in Indian fashion industry.
In India, this art work is done in the northern part of the country, in states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana. Originally, this art work is done by the people of certain tribes or communities such as the Kathi community or the Jat community of Banni in Kutch, Gujarat. In the Kathi embroidery the mirrors are used mainly as the center of flower motifs and as eyes of animal and bird motifs. The mirrors that are cut into different shapes and sizes are held onto the fabric with bright, decorative stitches stitched all over them. As the demand is so high, now both hand blown and machine cut glass are used in such embroidery.
My hometown is in the southern part of India and during festival seasons many exhibitions are held and craftsmen from all over the country come together and exhibit their beautiful art work and textiles.
This is a salwar kameez [an Indian outfit] embellished with mirror and embroidery work.
This beautiful work that has become an integral part of Indian embroidery is mostly done by the women of certain tribes or communities. The family often sits together and completes the intricate work on fabrics. But often these poor people are given cheap labor charges and the embroidered materials are sold at an exorbitant rate by the retailers via middle men.
At the same time there are some organizations that have come forward to help these people to make a living and to rescue many old Indian art forms and craft from extinction.
If you ever make a visit to the Northern part of India don’t forget to get some of the beautiful mirror worked crafts and fabrics.