At a time when artisans are facing a crisis due to a fall in demand for their work, LaQeeronline is a welcome initiative from Ambika Magotra, a designer, artist and educator based in New Delhi and embroidery artisans in the north Indian state of Kashmir. Keen to collaborate with artisans in the uncertain times imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ambika, a graduate of NID Ahmedabad, and presently Associate Dean, School of Creative Practice, Pearl Academy, New Delhi, reached out to embroidery artisans in Srinagar to nurture their age-old traditional embroidery.
LaQeer, literally `the line’ in Hindi, alludes to the beauty of a line in creating art. It explores the line’s attribute of defining forms and figures, of suggesting emotion and movement or inertia and stillness by its fineness or thickness, its continuity or breaks, its strength or frailty. And the word inspired Ambika to name the project LaQeeronline. Ambika gave the artisans her doodles and asked them to embroider those drawings in aari embroidery that they have traditionally been working to create cushion covers and wall art that could easily find their place in interiors across the world. The artisans followed Ambika’s suggestions and recreated the motifs and compositions on different fabrics such as cotton and pashmina working fine, neat chain stitches with silk threads or woollen yarn.
Aari work is done with the aari needle, a fine awl akin to the European tambour hook; the needle and the work are both called aari. For the aari embroidery, the needle is held above the fabric and thread is held below the fabric. The needle pierces the fabric and pulls the thread through the fabric as a small loop. The tip of the needle is then inserted through this loop into the fabric and the process repeated to form a continuous line of chain stitch. Due to the inherent nature of the stitch, the lines of chain stitch can be linear or curved or of any form, and when the lines are rendered next to each other the work is dense.
For more information visit Laqeeronline on InstagramGuest post by Brinda Gill.