Category Archives: Embroidery

ABC Fifties Style

A 1950’s Sampler

I discovered this sampler in my mother’s house whilst looking after her.  Sadly her battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia was in its final stages and she was unable to tell me about it but I know that she made it at school or as part of her degree in art and textiles.  I like the simple use of fabrics and the subtle colour palette, I’m guessing this was partly due to limited materials in the post war period, and the designs and patterns she created.

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The lettering on every right hand page features different patterns.

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A poodle with attitude!

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Love the foliage on this page and the mix of patterns.

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1950’s style swooping birds and another very decorative tree

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My favourite design is this wasp with gossamer-like wings.

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Valentine’s Day Gifts With A Global Twist

Handcrafted Gifts With A Global Twist

 

Why not give your loved one a handcrafted Valentine’s Day gift this year, something with a story behind it?

 

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For textile lovers, a hand embroidered cushions from our Kutch collection, like Advika, a vintage  Rabari embroidery cushion cover featuring heart-shaped motifs would make a wonderful gift.  The Rabaris are pastoral nomads living in Rajasthan and Gujurat with a distinctive style of embroidery which has been handed down from mother to daughter over generations.  Steeped in cultural tradition this is a statement cushion to cherish.

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If you are giving jewellery why not present it in one of our handcrafted Copper and Brass Trinket Boxes, which are perfect for storing chains, rings, earrings and cufflinks?  Each piece has been handcrafted by a Tambat coppersmith in Pune, India, using techniques dating back to the seventeenth century.  Tiny rows of uniform indentations on the surface, crafted with special hammers, create a mirror like appearance that reflects the light.

 

 

 

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For romantic nights in try our super warm Moroccan Pom Pom blankets from our Souk Collection.  These blankets are hand woven by Berber weavers and are designed to withstand the cold in the High Atlas mountains.   They are perfect for snuggling under on chilly winter nights.

 

Global Style – Burberry Prorsum Menswear

 

Rabari-inspired-embroidery

 

The Burberry Prorsum menswear collection for autumn/winter 2015 – 2016, Classically Bohemian, is a feast for the eyes for global textile lovers.  Large rebozo style fringed cashmere shawls are thrown over sophisticated suits, kantha like quilted jackets are combined with suede and shearling outerwear and hand embroidered coats, jackets, shirts, scarves and bags sparkle with mirror-work embroidery reminiscent of indigenous embroidery from India and Pakistan. I love the  jewel-like colours palette, of ink, ochre, green, turquoise, purple, red, and fuchsia, the luxurious fabrics and the mix of influences in this collection.  Sadly it’s menswear but I would happily wear one of the beautiful scarves and a large olive green bag is on my wish list.

 

A few shots of the collection below:

 

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Large cashmere shawl with rebozo style fringing.

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Quilting inspired by Durham quilts and similar to kantha quilting from India and Bangladesh.

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Beautiful mirror-work scarves.

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Mirror-work reminiscent of traditional embroidery from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Pakistan.

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Global style.

 

Watch the show and listen to soundtrack from talented British singer/songwriter Claire Maguire here.

Photos: Burberry Prorsum , Vogue.co.uk.

 

Phulkari Embroidery

I was looking through photos of my sourcing trip in India last year and came across these wonderful examples of phulkari embroidery, which I was lucky enough to see in a private collection in Bhuj in Gujarat.  Phulkari literally means flower work and is a style of embroidery which comes from the Punjab, and is normally applied to woven shawls and head scarves for domestic or ceremonial use..  The embroidery is done from the reverse of the fabric, known as khaddar, which is locally spun, hand woven naturally dyed cloth normally of a reddish brown colour, using a silk floss in yellow, white, pink or orange.

Phulkari’s are made for family use.   They are often started at the birth of a new baby.  After a ceremony to welcome the child the grandmother will begin to embroider a shawl, which will be used at that grandchild’s wedding.

 

 

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Phulkaris either feature geometric designs or like, the one above motifs, in this case peacocks, from everyday life.  I love the mix of colours in this example.

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When a shawl is completely covered in embroidery so that you can’t see the backing fabric, like the one above, it is known as a bagh (garden).  The geometric patterned shawls skilfully mix horizontal and vertical stitches to create a beautiful shimmery effect as you can see above.   It’s incredible to think that this entire piece has been worked from the reverse.

Two very different styles of phulkari embroidery.  Which one do you prefer?

Jewels of the Desert New Collection

It has been a mad few weeks here at Maud HQ so apologies for the lack of blog posts. Today I thought I would show you a sneak preview of some of the latest vintage, hand embroidered, cushions in the Maud collection, which will be online next week.

The cushions are made from fragments of vintage tribal embroidery, which were originally painstakingly hand embroidered by a prospective bride for her dowry or, by a mother or wife for her family.  Many of the pieces are from the bodices and cuffs of traditional tunics.  Each piece reflects both tribal traditions and the individual artistic interpretation and abilities of the embroiderer.  When you examine the embroidery in detail and see the complexity and density of the stitches you can appreciate that  these pieces have taken many months to produce.

Below are some detail shots from the new collection:

 

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We have a wide selection of vintage indigenous embroidery from the desert lands of Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat, Western Rajasthan and the Thar Parkar district of Sind in Pakistan.  From the bold, flamboyant, style of the nomadic Rabaris, to the delicate geometric patterns of the Rajput, to the intricate embroidery of the Jats and the figurative style of the Kanbi,  each group has its own style, colours, range of stitches and motifs which have been handed down from mother to daughter over generations yet each piece is unique.

To view the Maud collection click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewels Of The Desert – Shisha Embroidery

A post on Shisha or Abhla bharat, the name given to the mirrorwork embroidery from Gujarat, Pakistan and Afghanistan, today.  It’s a style of indigenous embroidery which has been used for generations.  Tiny pieces of abhla, or mirrored glass, are sewn into the overall embroidery design, using a sickle stitch, creating a sparkly, jewel-like effect.  The use of these mirrors in traditional dress, wall hangings and coverlets isn’t purely a decorative device,  it has a practical purpose too.  Mirrors were used in Islamic architecture to reflect the light and in the same way mirrors on fabrics within the home are used to reflect sunlight and candlelight at night. Sheesh-Mahal

Ceiling detail from the Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace, Amer Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan, built in the sixteenth century

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Interior of a Bhunga, a traditional mud hut, which I visited in a village near Bhuj, Gujarat.  The furniture, constructed from mud, and the storage jars are  studded with mirrors in different sizes to reflect the light.  In some Bhungas the walls are also adorned with mirrors.

 

Details from some of the vintage shisha embroidery we have in our store:

Shisha embroidery in geometric designs

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Shisha embroidery in floral designs

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Check out our range of beautiful,vintage, cushions and wall art containing shisha embroidery, www.maudinteriors.com/product-category/textiles/hand-embroidered-tribal-cushions.

Jewels of the Desert – Indigenous Embroidery Styles

A snapshot of four different embroidery styles from the  region comprising the barren, desert lands of Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat to western Rajasthan and the Thar Parkar district of Sind in Pakistan, which has been described as the world’s richest source of indigenous embroidery.  From the bold flamboyant style of the nomadic Rabaris, to the delicate geometric patterns of the Rajput, to the intricate embroidery of the Jats, to the figurative style of the Kanbi, each tribal group passes on its own style, colours, range of stitches and motifs from generation to generation yet each piece is unique.   Each piece was painstakingly embroidered by a prospective bride for her dowry or a mother or wife for her family or her home and each piece reflects not only tribal traditions but also the individual artistic interpretation and abilities of the embroiderer.

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Detail from Nagina in the Maud collection, originally part of a Rabari saddle bag, Kutch, Gujarat

Exotic patterns from the nomadic Rabari camel breeders, cattle herders and shepherds.  Bold, vibrant, designs in pink, orange, blue and green thread featuring abstract motifs, like the stylised parrots in hot pink in the centre.

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Detail from a Rajput chakla (a square wall hanging), Saurashtra, Gujarat

A subtle geometric style from the Rajputs a ruling cast of farmers and herders.  Their work is characterised by square and diamond patterns, open chain stitch and shisha or abla (pieces of mirrored glass).  I love the mix of colours in this piece which will be available in our store soon.

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Detail from the bodice of a Jat choli (traditional backless blouse), Kutch, Gujarat

Abstract florals and geometric patterns are characteristic of Jat embroidery, known for its intricacy and density.  The embroidery is set out in a grid like structure with rows of round or pear shaped shisha or abla (mirrored glass work) and the pattern will typically cover the fabric.

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Detail from a Kanbi chakla (wall hanging), Saurashtra, Gujarat

Figurative embroidery from the Kanbi, a farming caste.  The Kanbi is known for its wall hangings depicting images of Ganesh, the elephant- headed God, the remover of obstacles to happiness.  This piece will be available in the Maud collection soon.

We would love to hear what you think about these different styles.

Jewels of the desert – the Maud collection

There is a story behind each of the products in our launch collection so today I thought I would talk about our vintage, hand embroidered cushions and wall hangings, aptly described as “Jewels of the desert” because of the striking contrast between the vivid colours and the arid, desert region they originate from.  I came across this vibrant, intricate, embroidery two years ago whilst travelling in India and as I adore textiles and am passionate about design and colour I fell in love with them and was compelled to return to India to find out more about them.

I travelled to the dusty, barren, Kutch desert bordering Pakistan, a region where for generations embroidery has been an integral part of daily life for indigenous women.  Women were responsible for embroidering clothing for both domestic and ceremonial use.  It was customary to produce richly embellished pieces as part of a young women’s dowry and items would include clothing for the bride and groom, wedding shawls, quilt covers, wall hangings, small bags for tobacco and other products and saddle bags and other trappings for the livestock.

Traditionally girls would start embroidering items for their dowries from as young as six years old using stitches, symbols and motifs handed down from mother to daughter over generations and incorporating them into their own unique designs.  When you look at the embroidery in detail and see the complexity of the stitches you can appreciate that some of the pieces have taken months and sometimes longer to produce.

 

Saloni, fragments of ceremonial costumes

 

 

 

I was amazed by the diversity of embroidery styles and the range of colour combinations and I will talk about this in a later blog but briefly this is due to the fact that each indigenous group has its own style of embroidery, ranging from the geometric pieces of the semi nomadic camel breeding Jats, to the flamboyant open chain stitch embroidery of the nomadic Rabaris.  The embroidery serves more than a domestic purpose; it is a visual expression of cultural identity.  It is possible to determine the tribe, religion and social status of an individual from the style of embroidery a person is wearing.

Included here are two different styles of  dowry embroidery, the one above  is my favourite wall hanging, Saloni, which comprises sections of intricately embroidered ceremonial clothing using gold and silver  thread combined with pinks and blues.  The piece below, is Naguni, a piece of Rabari embroidery which was originally half of a saddle bag.

Naguni, Rabari embroiderySadly these intricate hand embroidered pieces are becoming rare.  Progress brings change and improved transportation, migration to cities for work, access to modern media combined with the introduction of synthetic fabrics like polyester and cheap ready-to-wear clothing have all contributed to the decline in traditional indigenous embroidery.  Economic hardship has forced women to work on cheap, mass produced imitations for the tourist trade for subsistence wages and some tribes, like the Rabaris, have banned dowry embroidery because the quantity of items demanded and the expense and time to produce them became too onerous on families.  Fortunately there are several NGOs working in the region trying to preserve this unique art form.