The state Punjab has always been rich with heritage and colours. In the past, the women of Punjab weren’t literate but they all possessed excellent knitting and sewing skills. The Phulkari art carries their legacy in today’s time with grace. The origin of the word Phulkari came from two words- Phul and Kari. “Phul” means flower and “Kari” means work. After putting together both words, Phulkari stands for “Flower work”. Nowadays, designers have embraced this traditional embroidery and crafted it aesthetically to make designer blouses.
The history of Phulkari work:
Due to the lack of evidence, the history of Phulkari is not known but the word first appeared in the famous Punjabi love story- “Heer-Ranjha” in the 17th century. Some studies have revealed that Phulkari came to Punjab from Iran along with the Jat tribe who came to India from Iran.
The traditional Phulkari is made by using colourful high-quality raw silk thread named “Pat” in a hand-woven and hand-dyed piece of cloth name “Khaddar” with the help of an ordinary needle. Phulkari is usually done without any help of drawing, tracing or patterns. The artisans just use their imaginations to create the beautiful designs. This makes the work of Phulkari popular among the designers.
Types of Phulkari work used in designer blouses:
The word Bagh means “Garden”. This type of Phulkari work is exclusively decorative and elaborative as the ground colour (the khaddar) is no longer visible. The needle work is so rich, that the embroidery itself becomes the fabric. You can imagine how gorgeous a blouse with this bagh work would be.
These Phulkari works were traditionally made by the grandmother of the bride to present her at the wedding. It is usually embroidered straight at the borders. The designer blouses with this work look divine with the embroidered border appearing at the hands and the collar.
- Sainchi Phulkari:
It literally means designing figures. This type of Phulkari is exclusively inspired by the rural life of Punjab. This type of embroidery is the specialty of the Faridkot and Bhatinda artisans. Human figures, birds, and animal motifs are used in this type of embroidery. A statement blouse with this type of work would look vibrant and your look would stand out from the rest with one of these in your wardrobe.
- Shishedaar Phulkari:
The name itself implies the use of mirror pieces. In this type of Phulkari work, the mirror pieces are stitched with the Phulkari work in a red and chocolate background.
Designs and patterns:
As the name indicates, the primary design and motifs that are used in Phulkari are floral patterns. Other than that, the rural women made patterns inspired by their daily life, emotions, feelings and imaginations to make beautiful designs.
- The Geometric Pattern:
For making Bagh type of Phulkari, geometric patterns like triangles, squares and horizontal and vertical lines are used to make different designs are made by the darn stitch with different and beautiful colour combinations. The flowers, animals, birds are made using this geometric pattern.
- Fruits, vegetables, and floral motifs:
Nature always influenced art. Many floral motifs are made by the rural artisans from their imaginations. Marigold, Sunflower, jasmine and lotus motifs are commonly used in Bagh and Phulkari. The rural women also make the motifs of some vegetables like bitter gourd, cauliflower, Chilli etc.
- The birds and animal motif:
Birds and animal motifs are also used in Phulkari. The most common animal and bird motifs are cow, elephant, camel, peacock, and sparrow.
- Jewellery motif:
The jewellery motifs are commonly used in the original Phulkari work.
The appeal of the Phulkari blouses:
The Phulkari embroidery is considered as very trendy at this moment and seen frequently on designer stores and ramp shows. The Phulkari blouses made by the designers look trendy as well as traditional. If you wear an exclusively designed Phulkari blouse with a rather simple colour contrasted and simple saree or lehenga-dupatta combo with classic gold ornaments, you will definitely stand out from the rest.