Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ethnic Embroidery of India Part I

Author - Usha Shrikant
Cost - US$40 (Rs.1500)

I bought this book through Flipkart. It has about 143 pages of information about designs and techniques used in the different embroidery styles of Bengal, the Banjara tribe, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kashmir, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

So, did I get value for money? I'd say no.

It's a hard bound book with excellent quality paper. It would make a decorative coffee table book. But for use by serious students of embroidery, as a source of authentic and extensive information,  on the distinct styles of Indian Embroidery, the book is a big disappointment.

 Rs 1500 for 143 pages??? So why did I order it? For one thing, I did not know that the book only contained so few pages. For another, I hoped the book would be packed with techniques, you won't find anywhere else.

What I expected was a discussion of the various design elements of each distinct style. I'll take Kantha of Bengal, as a case in point. This style, has several distinct motifs, typical to it. But I all found in the book is, information on the various typical utilitarian articles, people made using this embroidery style, pictures of some work samples, a couple of pictures with an inadequate demo of how to work a leaf and a round (anyone who has anything to do with embroidery would have figured it out, just by looking at it) and four pages with about 19 kantha motifs you can find in any embroidery design books, that Indian craft outlets sell, for a maximum of Rs.120.

There is no information here that you won't find elsewhere cheaper or even for free.
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