Phulkari Embroidery: A transformation from a gift of love to an art

admin Comments 0 April 15, 2022

Mothers’ love is incomparable, so is this art.

Originated out of love of mothers, grandmothers and aunts for the girl child of their families, females start making Phulkari embroidery shawls and dupattas (odhnis) to give it away to them at the time of their weddings, as early as a girl child was born.

An offering from the state of Punjab, “Phool” means flower and “kaari” means work (originally came from Iran where it is known as “Gulkari”), this distinguished handwork basically uses floral designs to enhance the beauty of simple fabric into intricate piece of art became an inseparable part of Punjabi traditional wedding. This darn stich embroidery was originally done on base fabrics like khaddar (khadi cotton) and silk with “Patt” (hand woven silk thread), but over a period of time and with growing demands and popularity, variety of fabrics and threads are used.   

As mentioned above, Phulkari is an expression of thoughts, so there is no set style, just exquisite floral designs and motifs, embroidered in long and short stitches. Same colour thread is used to in horizontal, vertical and diagonal to give it a shading effect. They are characterised as Bagh, Chope, Subhar, Sainchi, Tilpatra, Neelal, Ghungat bagh and chammas. They are distinguished only as how their fabrics are woven, characterised according to its style, thread, weight, thickness and firmness. The firm and fine fabric like silk and linen are chosen for “Bagh”. As for the style – narrowest the stitch, finest is the quality. Where as in “Chope”, loosely embroidered and less dense designs are preferred. Whereas the colour of base fabric was chosen according to age or occasion. For example vibrant colours like orange, red and green are preferred choice for young girls and newlyweds, whereas white is a default choice of elderlies, other colours like black, blue, skin are part of their daily life.

Now it is restricted to odhnis and shawls, you can find this beautiful art on shalwar, ladies suits, churidars, pants, bed covers and on other home décor stuff. In a way, this has given a new prospect to women of phulkari artwork to earn a respectable living.

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