Where is the Kasuti embroidery form?

This form of embroidery has a special significance in northern Karnataka, and was traditionally found on saris worn by the bride in certain communities. Motifs generally include kolam or rangoli designs and palanquins.

There are so many traditional kasuti embroidery patterns, although there are a number of common themes or motifs. Lotus flowers (center) are widely used, as are other flowers, animals, shells and plenty of borders. Many are inspired by temples in the Karnatak region. 

Like blackwork or other counted thread techniques, kasuti embroidery designs are worked on a grid. Although the patterns shown above are not pictured on a grid, they still are more like a chart and will work on aida or other evenweave fabric.

Download the kasuti pattern JPG and print it out for reference or to transfer the designs. Use the motifs individually or repeat the elements.

If you are using Aida cloth, each straight line on the pattern represents one square. If you are using an evenweave fabric, decide how many threads to count for each straight stitch. You can easily adjust the size of the pattern by changing the number of threads you count for each stitch. 

If you want to use regular linen or quilting cotton, you can either use waste canvas to create the grid on the fabric or treat this as any other embroidery pattern and mark the design directly on the fabric and stitch over it. Use the motifs individually or repeat the elements.

Credit : The Spruce Crafts

Picture Credit : Google

What is special about Chikankari embroidery?

This intricate form of embroidery traces its origins to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. In its classic form, white thread is used on white cotton fabric and according to some theories, it dates back to the Mughal era. Initially, it was believed to have been used to embellish clothes worn by men.

Delicately worked chikankari designs were embroidered on the finest of cotton mulmul (muslin) fabrics during the Mughal period, and it had value and worth for its aesthetics. It had been encouraged very much during that time to make it one of the most popular embroidery techniques of India and which has remained so till date. This embroidery technique is popularly used to adorn beautiful kurtas and sarees and even home decor items.

Chikankari produces stunning effects on sheer fabrics for the shadowy effect that it gives. But Chikankari is not restricted. You can do chikan work on any kind of fabric but mostly sheer fabric is preferred for the shadow effect they give. They are mostly done on Malmal cotton, Cambric, muslin, voile, organza, silk, crepe, organdy chiffon, and tassar. When this work is done on net it gives a lace like look which is absolutely stunning.

Believed to be more than four centuries old, it seems to find its roots in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India.  Whether or not it originated during the Mughal rule, one can definitely find its encouragement and flourishing during that period for embellishing all nature of fabrics. The fabrics during the Mughal period were generally the soft malmal and muslin cotton and Chikankari was used to adorn them with exquisite floral designs. Special mention is made by historians that Noorjehan, wife of Emperor Jahangir, was instrumental in creating the environment for the propagation of this art during the emperor’s reign.

Credit : Unnati silks

Picture Credit : Google

How is origami used in space?

Origami was on display at the Tokyo Olympics, which concluded on August 8. Athletes and journalists across venues were reportedly given cranes, flowers, butterflies made of paper, as a token of good health and cheer amid the gloomy reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. But did you know that this art of paper folding is even used in space engineering?

Origami engineering

It was American physicist Robert J Lang, who first studied the mathematics of origami and came up with real-world applications of origami to engineering problems. Today, origami is providing practical solutions to tackle complicated problems in space engineering.

Wondering how it is possible? Well, the ancient Japanese art of origami is adopted in space engineering to fold large objects and compress them so that they fit into smaller spaces inside the rocket and can be deployed once they reach their destination.

For instance, origami has helped NASA in designing the Starshade, a flower-shaped occulter in the Exoplanet Exploration Program in the New Worlds Mission Origami helped NASA fit the Starshade occulter, which is the size of a baseball field, inside a rocket. Once the Starshade opens in space, it will allow a space telescope to better see the planets around bright stars. Similarly, origami has been used in the CubeSats project where a huge antenna was packed into satellites the size of a briefcase. Origami has also been used in designing a robot called PUFFER. Applying the principles of origami, the scientists have been able to create a robot that can fold itself up and operate in small spaces. The robot will be able to enter cracks, crevices and explore all the areas that are otherwise inaccessible.

See how the simple art of paper folding is blended with rocket science.

Evolution of origami

Japan's love affair with paper began when the Buddhist monks imported the technology for manufacturing paper from China via Korea and created the beautiful washi paper, which is used in origami.

Origami butterflies, Ocho and Mecho, are the earliest known examples of origami mentioned in a short poem composed by thara Saikaku in 1680. Then in 1764 Sadatake Ise published the first set of instructions on paper folding in "Tsutsumi musibi no Ki". It developed further in the Edo era. Paper adomments were folded in different ways to symbolise different things. By the end of the period, more than 70 shapes were known including the crane, frog and samurai helmet.

Meanwhile, countries around the world too had their own traditions of folding. The Spanish tradition of folding paper birds was known as 'pajarita', whereas folding of napkins had become a practice among Italy's elites too. The Japanese and the Western folding traditions were merged by a German educator, Friedrich Frobel, who created the concept of kindergarten. Frobel made paper folding a part of the early years curriculum, thereby drawing the world's attention to this unique art.

Picture Credit : Google

What is the purpose of truck art?

Giant, bulky trucks carrying heavy goods are a familiar sight on national highways. Their imposing presence often annoys other motorists on the road. However, the next time you pass one by, don't forget to take a closer look. You may be surprised to find that these mammoth vehicles are actually covered in colourful and ornate artwork.

From drawings of soaring eagles and blushing brides to catchy slogans and safety messages displayed on the sides, truck art can be traced back to the truck drivers of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It comes in a melange of colours and psychedelic symbols.

Why it's done

Trucks are often used to transport cargo and heavy goods across long distances. As they embark on deliveries, truck drivers are forced to leave their homes and families behind for months together. They spend long hours on the lonely, rambling road and are sometimes forced to sleep in their vehicles. In a way, the trucks serve as their home away from home. And just as we decorate our homes to make them attractive, the truck-drivers too brighten up their home-on-wheels with truck art.

A motley of colours

The art consists of signature colours, characteristic typography and woodwork with intricate details. Each truck is different, an expression of its owner, reflecting individual beliefs, values and interests.

Popularity

Today, the art form is no longer restricted to trucks. The style has become a popular expression of contemporary lture. Kitschy designs found in truck art are replicated on garments, cushion covers, crockery and other items of home decor. However, there are concerns that the truck art tradition is dying, as hand-painted artwork is getting replaced with stickers.

Did you know?

  • Environmentalists in Kolkata launched an initiative to spread awareness on the importance of tiger conservation through the popular truck art on International Tiger Day on July 29.
  • Pakistani decorated trucks ferrying goods to Afghanistan came to be known as jingle trucks by the U.S. troops and contractors.
  • One of the most common signs you will find emblazoned across the back of a truck is "Horn, Ok, Please". It's a call for other drivers to honk when they try to overtake the truck; a long-standing tradition on Indian roads.

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A Leonardo da Vinci Drawing the Size of a Postage Stamp Sold for $12.2 Million at Christie’s

When one thinks of Leonardo da Vinci, his masterpieces "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper' come to mind. But did you know that the Italian Renaissance genius is equally famous for a tiny drawing of a bear's head? Or that it was recently sold for a record amount?

Titled "Head of a Bear, the painting is just 2.75 inches by 2.75 inches, which is roughly the size of a postal stamp. The teeny-tiny painting created a giant record by getting a bid of $12.1m at an auction in London, surpassing the previous record set by the "Horse and Rider", which sold for $11.5m in 2001.

So what makes this tiny sketch so speciál? Well, the answer lies in the technique. The painting is 500 years old and is rendered in silverpoint.

What is silverpoint?

This is an extremely fine technique that has no room for error. It involves applying a silver stick or a stylus to a specially prepared paper. In this technique, even the minutest flaw can leave a mark and ruin the painting. Imagine the amount of control and perfection required!

What makes it even more interesting is that the initial marks of silverpoint appear grey, but when exposed to air, they gradually change to a warm brown tone. This is because of the process of oxidation and it can take up to several months. The speed of oxidation varies according to the level of pollution in the air.

Another reason that makes the painting precious is its subject. Although da Vinci was interested in nature and animals, he rarely reproduced them on paper. He usually created portraits, landscapes, and works revolving around religious themes.

Provenance

Also, "Head of a Bear' is one of the few privately owned paintings of da Vinci. The sketch previously belonged to British painter and collector Sir Thomas Lawrence, before being sold at Christie's in 1860 for £2.50.

Backstory Born in 1452, da Vinci is known for his paintings and inventions. He dedicated his time to science, math, architecture, design, engineering, geology, cartography, sculpting and drawing. His artwork continues to fetch astronomical sums.

OH REALLY?

  • Researchers have identified 14 descendants of da Vinci. Decades-long research has revealed that his relatives continue to live in Tuscany. The scientists are hoping to find answers regarding his genius by studying da Vinci's geneology.
  • In 2017, a 500-year-old painting of the Christ believed to have been painted by da Vinci sold in New York for a record $450m. Known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World), the sale represented the highest auction price for any work of art.
  • Last year, an online bidder paid $98,000 to attend the annual examination of the "Mona Lisa", which is when the Louvre museum in Paris takes the painting out of its case for inspection.

Picture Credit : Google