The Eye of the Needle

Dear Students

five-day-handicraft-fair-in-greater-noida-from-tuesday8 to 14 December 2016 celebrates Indian Handicrafts in every Indian state. This is a time when Indian artisans exhibit their exclusive and beautiful creations to the world market.

 

stock-photo-54433330-handmade-jute-dolls-indian-handicrafts-fair-at-kolkataThese handicrafts were part of rural Indian household culture, but are dying out today due to drastic changes in our lifestyle. I would like you to think – is this a good thing for us?

 

sewing machineThe needle, for instance, used to be an important piece of home technology, and almost every home had
a sewing machine, along with at least one person who used it regularly.

 

In school, students learnt plain needlework, knitting, stitching, as well as embroidery.

needle1

Even early man learnt to stitch animal skins together with bone needles.

paleol23

Did you know that tailor birds stitch leaves together into a nest?

tailorbird

Yet, most young persons today are unable even to stitch on a button that has fallen off! Darning or patching torn clothes are unheard of. Most people turn to the darzi/tailor for making new clothes or even altering a seam.

So common was this art/craft in the past, that it entered into metaphor and idiom in our language, where it still lingers. We embroider stories when we add fiction to fact. We annoy someone by needling or teasing them. Jesus Christ stated that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the gateway of heaven. Most importantly, a stitch in time saves nine! Do you understand the meaning of these proverbs?

camel-eye-needle

In fact costumes, specific kinds of stitching and embroidery and also materials in the past and present are an important branch of study.

Click on Indian embroidery to read about unique forms of fine needlework in different parts of India, that are traditional to the region. How many types of needlework did you find typical of Gujarat? Is there any needlework specific to your own native region in India? Is there anyone in your family who is a skilled needlewoman? Do share your information in Comments.

Sanjukta Sivakumar

 

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