2018

Creating Rhythms with Needle and Thread

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Learn about the processes involved in Lambani embroidery!

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
Sandur Kaushala Kala Kendra
Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra is an organisation that serves Lambani women in production and marketing of their craft. The centre has a full production setup with looms and dyeing areas along with storage spaces and even a retail shop. 
Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
Dyeing processes at the centre
Dyeing processes in Sandur are handled by the men folk while women exclusively do the embroidery.
Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

While most of the dyeing takes place using chemical colours, an array of natural materials, both vegetable and mineral, is also used to provide the strong madder red, indigo blue, ochre yellow and green to dye cloth, yarn or threads for Lambani embroiderers.

Kattha (catechu), Rathanjot, Chawal Kudi (pomegranate peel) are some of the materials used for creating natural colours in which the fabrics are dyed.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Indigo dye stained fingers hold up a seed used for colouring.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Tying sections of the fabric before dyeing, to create a tie-dye effect.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

There is also a facility made for roller dyeing at the centre.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
Yarn & fabric making
At the Sandur Kaushala Kala Kendra, not only do Lambani women embroider but they also prepare their own yarn and weave their own fabric.
Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

The community women operate the machine spinning unit at the centre for preparing the yarn.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

A Lambani woman separates the coloured yarn before it goes on to the spinning wheel.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

A Lambani spinner transfers loose threads on to small spindles for convenience.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Spools of coloured threads (like the indigo dyed ones in the image) are made at the Sandur Kaushala Kala Kendra, for embroidery work by the Lambani craftswomen.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Many shades of coloured yarn are stored carefully for the embroiderers to use for commercial orders.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dyed yardage is stacked in a store room to hand out to Lambani women embroiderers. The women may sit collectively or take marked fabric pieces, along with threads, to work at home.

Lambani Embroidery: Embroidery as a commmunity practice, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
Embroidery work at the Kala Kendra
Lambani women work together, especially when there is a large order for a city client. They share jokes and each other’s company. While young girls watch and learn, little boys know from a young age that they are not going to be embroiderers (and often have the uninterested expressions on their faces!)
Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Wooden blocks for hand printing are used at Sandur Kaushala Kala Kendra to mark areas of design on the fabric where embroidery is required.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

A block with patterns that date back to traditional tribal motifs used in Lambani embroidery.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

A Lambani woman embroiders over pre-marked areas on the fabric according to the requirements of a commercial order from a city.

Lambani Embroidery: Homes around Hampi, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Block printed fabric from Gujarat is being embroidered upon in Lambani style.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

The elaborate handwork on the Lambani woman’s traditional attire, elaborately overlaid with sequins, buttons, mirrors and coins is a sharp contrast to the simply embroidered pieces they make for customers from cities.

Lambani Embroidery: Embroidery as a commmunity practice, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

A Lambani embroiderer ensures that the simplest of ornamentation on an urban outfit must still be of the highest quality of needlework.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Lambani embroiderers working on pieces ordered by a large retail store which has branches in many cities.

Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
Making the final product
A large hall at the Kala Kendra houses the sewing area in Sandur where Lambani women machine stitch embroidered fabric pieces together to create the finished garment.
Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
A Lambani crafts store
The finished pieces, created by the Lambani women at the Kala Kendra, are dispatched or sold directly from the centre's very own retail store. 
Lambani Embroidery: Activities in Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

The store on the centre's premises serves local tourist who come to visit the famous ruins of Hampi.

Lambani Embroidery: Products and stitches, 2018, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Read more about the Lambanis and their colourful embroidery traditions here:

- Nomad embroideries flourish amidst stone
- Lambani’s coloured homes and embroideries
- The vivacity of Lambani embroidery art

Dastkari Haat Samiti
Credits: Story

Text: Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Chirodeep Chaudhuri
Artisans: Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra
Ground Facilitator: Ankit Kumar Singh
Documentary Video: Chirodeep Chaudhuri
Curation: Aradhana Nagpal

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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