The Artful Process of How Chikankari is Done

The Artful Process of How Chikankari is Done

Posted by Hariharan Arumugam on

Chikankari, an exquisite embroidery technique hailing from the city of Lucknow in India, is a testament to the delicate and timeless beauty of handcrafted art. This age-old craft has been passed down through generations, captivating hearts with its intricate designs and skillful execution. 

Chikankari embroidery has been used to enhance both men’s and women’s clothing, including Chikankari kurtis, flowy angrakha, chogas, and lehengas.

In this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of how Chikankari is done in a traditional way, celebrating the artistry and craftsmanship that makes this heritage craft so special.

Step 1: Designing the Patterns

At the heart of Chikankari lies the vision of the skilled artisan. The process begins with the Chikankar conceptualizing intricate patterns on paper or on wooden blocks. Drawing inspiration from nature's wonders and elements like flowers, leaves, and birds, the designs are refined until they embody the grace and charm of Chikankari. This stage requires a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for the art form.

Step 2: Transferring the Design

Once the design is perfected, it is transferred onto the chosen fabric. The Chikankar places the fabric on a wooden frame and carefully traces the design using charcoal, pencil, or stamping the blocks that are dipped in dyes or Neel. This step acts as a guiding map during the embroidery process, ensuring that every stitch aligns with the envisioned pattern. The chosen fabric is typically soft and fine, allowing the needle to glide smoothly, creating delicate Chikankari patterns.

tracing design using wooden blocks for embroidery
Images Source - D'source

Step 3: Embroidery with Grace

With the design traced on the fabric, the real magic begins as the Chikankar brings it to life with their skilled hands. Chikankari employs a handful of stitches, each contributing to the unique charm of the embroidery. These stitches include Taipchi (Running Stitch), Bakhiya (Shadow Work), Hool (Eyelet Hole), Phanda (Knot Stitch), Murri (French Knot), and Keel Kangan (Fishbone Stitch).

The Chikankar carefully selects the appropriate stitch for each part of the design, ensuring that the final creation is a harmonious blend of patterns and textures. The needle dances gracefully on the fabric, each stitch woven with precision and care, reflecting the artistry and dedication of the artisan.

embroidering on the cloth

Step 4: Artistic Freedom and Creativity

Chikankari is not just a mechanical replication of the traced design; it allows for artistic expression and creativity. The skilled Chikankar may add their personal touch by incorporating additional motifs, creating subtle variations in stitch patterns, or infusing the artwork with a sense of uniqueness.

This artistic freedom is what sets Chikankari apart from machine-made embroideries, giving each creation its distinct identity and character. It is this infusion of passion and creativity that breathes life into Chikankari and makes it a cherished art form.

artisan embroidering a white cloth

Step 5: The Finishing Touch - Washing

Once the embroidery is complete, the fabric undergoes a gentle washing process to remove any markings and impurities. This washing also softens the fabric, adding a touch of elegance to the final Chikankari creation. The washed fabric is carefully ironed to prepare it for its final form, unveiling the true beauty of Chikankari.

artisan doing Chikankari embroidery

Wrapping Up

Chikankari is not just an embroidery technique; it is an art form that celebrates the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship of India. The step-by-step process of how a Chikankari is done showcases the artistry and dedication of skilled artisans, who bring their vision to life with every stitch.

With its timeless beauty and intricate designs, Chikankari continues to capture the imagination of people worldwide. If you wish to adorn yourself with the charm of Chikankari and support the artisans who preserve this ancient craft, explore the exquisite collection at Nama:Stay for Kurtas, Kashmiri kaftans & more. Nama:Stay celebrates the artistry and skill of Indian artisans, offering handcrafted treasures that are both captivating and empowering.

Discover the allure of Chikankari and experience the artful journey of creating masterpieces on fabric. With every purchase from Nama:Stay, you contribute to the preservation of this age-old craft and support the livelihoods of the talented artisans who pour their hearts into creating these breathtaking works of art. Embrace the elegance of Chikankari and be a part of this timeless tradition that connects the past with the present and keeps the magic of handcrafted art alive.

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