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Unique Pattern Sourcebook for Indian Whitework,
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This review is from: Traditional Chikankari Embroidery Patterns of India (International Design Library) (Paperback)
This is the first International Design Library publication that I have seen and I am impressed overall. The paper is good quality, the designs are clear and easy to trace, and the publisher allows a fair degree of freedom in using the designs. My only quibble is that it doesn't easily lay flat when open, so I have had my copy wire-bound to make it easier to trace the designs.
I am particularly interested in regional whitework embroidery techniques and so far, this pattern book is one of only a very few texts on Chikan embroidery that I have discovered. The introduction briefly describes the embroidery, its history and the stitches used in working the traditional designs. The patterns which follow have been carefully reproduced, with sufficient repeats, from the original woodblock prints collected by the authors during their travels in India. Included in the 42 pages of designs are thirty-six narrow borders (4-5cm wide) and eight deep borders (8cm wide). Other designs are `all-over' pattern repeats of various motifs including trailing floral sprays, bold geometric tiles, floral diaper patterns and nine different `paisley' patterns. I have uploaded a scan of the back cover so you can see one example of these designs.
This book is primarily a Chikankari design resource and as such, it is invaluable. For a newcomer to the technique, who wants to work one of these designs using the traditional stitches, it is only half the story as no stitch instruction is included here. There are several other books that do explain the stitches and I can recommend 'Chikan Embroidery: The Floral Whitework of India' by Sheila Paine (Shire ethnography) and 'The Techniques of Indian Embroidery' by Anne Morrell. I do think, however, that these patterns are delightful in their own right and could be interpreted using a variety of embroidery techniques. The trailing sprays of flowers and foliage would lend themselves beautifully to other whitework methods, as well as silk shading, crewel embroidery and possibly goldwork.