The history of textile art across cultures in India

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Historically, being a painter or stamp artist did not mean that you could become a textile artist, says John Miller.

Textile art has not been fully explored. It doesn’t actually require you to be skilled at painting or adept at critical and creative hand movements. It is quite another thing. Like today’s artisans around the world, it was an art passed down from generation to generation. It is therefore a legacy where the yarns were dyed on a large scale in a wide variety of colors, and all from natural sources. The highly skilled weavers who were part of this creative endeavor were often father-son teams.

So what is textile art? To answer this, let’s go back a few centuries because textile art as we know it has a long history of men and women who practice it through the generations. It’s not just a paint or print job, but something more elaborate.

The ancient Egyptians made beautiful textiles and in China certain types of clothing have been found that date back thousands of years. Countless artists have specialized in the manufacture of textiles but they are unknown to us today because all their creations, although of complex manufacture, were intended for everyday use. We often saw what they were up to, but didn’t always know their names.

A tapestry is a textile art. In ancient times, it was considered a very large weave done only by hand, preferably on a vertical loom. Imagery or scenes on a tapestry would be narrative or decorative. The first tapestries had a fundamental and predefined purpose: insulation. These large works of fine fabric were used to hang the walls of the castle and protect the inhabitants from humidity and cold. Flanders, in northern Belgium, was a hub for tapestry making in medieval times.

So, textile art is a form of creating something using natural fibers, fabrics, threads, and colors from sources such as plants, animals, and insects. It includes processes such as weaving, sewing and embroidery and it all translates into the creation of a rug, colorful wall hanging, knitting and crochet patterns and other handmade garments or sculptures. fabric hand.

The Lady and the Unicorn series is a prime example of such intricate tapestries. This is a set of six images that were woven into wool and silk in Flanders circa 1511. If you are a history student or an ancient culture enthusiast, you must have come across some books or stories from the Middle Ages that mention such artistic creations. . Each creation is a little different from the other but features a richly dressed woman. A smiling and whimsical unicorn accompanies him with other creatures on a red background surrounded by foliage and other small animals.

Some hand-made or woven products or the first textile creations are not tapestries, despite names like the Bayeux tapestry. It is in fact an elaborate piece of embroidery. It is made of eight pieces of linen sewn together measuring approximately 231 feet long and almost 20 inches high with richly embroidered images in eight colors of woolen thread. The Bayeux tapestry shows dramatic images of knights and horses, soldiers and battles, and recounts the Norman conquest.

Today, artisans use different media with dyes, inks and naturally occurring threads to express their creativity and originality in items such as handmade handbags, even handcrafted prints and jewelry. , crochet or knitting patterns for babies. The diversity of art and creativity has taken the textile world to new levels of popularity. According to studies, the textile industry in India alone provides nearly half a million people with stable employment. In addition, a large number of artisans, artists, designers, printmakers, weavers, embroiderers and packers are involved in the trade.

Hand-printed textiles have become popular in domestic and international markets. This includes screen printing and batik as well as kalamkari, which is hand-pen printing, and bandhani (tie and die), the popular method of dyeing fabrics.

Today there are many techniques for producing beautiful and unique textile art products that range from bedspreads and pillow cases to sheets, from conventional clothing to upholstery, crochet and knitting patterns. and tapestries, the demand for which has increased over the years. No one can dispute the popularity of elaborately embroidered silk and cotton items. These are often embellished with glass stones and gems, mirrors, pretty seashells, pearls and metal parts.

Textile art is not just a singular artistic field. It is a discipline that requires passion, dedication and commitment. If supported and encouraged, it can become a source of employment for thousands of families around the world.

About the Author:

John Miller received his MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is currently working as a quality manager at Artisna Marketplace.


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