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Kasuti – Where Needles Runs on Cloth and Creates Art

Priyanshi Pareek reports on the Kasuti emnroidery..

Kasuti embroidery is a needle and thread artform from Karnataka which is performed on a cotton cloth.

Kasuti embroidery, from northern Karnataka, is one of the region’s most popular artforms and is linked entirely to the villages in the area. 

A geographical indicator from the government of India is used to safeguard the craftsmen here, ensuring any profit from the sale of this sticker returns to them. 

Origin

Kasuti embroidery is one of the oldest Indian practices. It dates back to the Chalukya period. The name Kasuti is derived from the words Kai meaning hand and Suti meaning wrap/weave, indicating an activity that is done using cotton and hands.

Although it was first only done in the Dharwad region, over time, it has expanded into other parts of Karnataka and is now used throughout South India. Initially, this job was done only by women, and to date, women form a vital element of the cottage industry of Kasuti. 

Work

The Kasuti embroidery features folk designs influenced by rangoli patterns of Karnataka. Kasuti work involves embroidering very intricate patterns like chariot, palanquin, motifs of gopurams of temples, lamps and conch shells. 

At first, the stitchers need to draw the pattern with charcoal or pencil which is to be embroidered and then needles of proper size and thread of requisite thickness are selected. Types of stitches are Ganti (double running stitch used for marking vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines), Murgi (zig-zag stitch), Neyge (running stitch), Menthe (cross stitch resembling fenugreek seeds).

The cradle, anklet-bells, palanquins and other articles of everyday use are artistically depicted. Some religious motifs are the Gopurams of temples, the chariot and palanquin in which the deity is carried on ceremonial occasions, the lotus, the tulsi patti which is the enclosure for the sacred tulsi plant.

The material on which the embroidery is executed is a hand-woven cloth of dark colour, usually black.

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