Artwork: Kashida

Kashidakari is the Persian name for needlework. Derived from this name, the Kashida, also known as Kasida, is one of the oldest forms of embroidery that originated in the Jammu and Kashmir region. Kashida work is created by using thick, colored threads as well as beads to create different attractive patterns. Most kashida motifs are inspired by nature, such as vines, birds, leaves and flowers and is one of the defining aspects of this art form.

Inspired by this kind of embroidery on textiles, each state or region across Pan India added their own flair and distinctive stitch form to this artwork. One of these forms was, embroidery on leather footwear, known as the Jutis. Rajasthan in particular, was a hub, where the making of these exquisite shoes first originated.

Traditionally, this artwork involved, stitching extensive embroidery details in real gold and silver threads on Leather, as inspired by Indian royalty over 400 years ago. The style of Jutis back then were far more ornate and rich in texture and design, incorporating fine gems, stones, and precious pearls. Over a period of time, this art form has been used to make handbags and other accessories.

The process of embroidering on leather involves the use of stencils, for cutting and tracing designs on to the leather. They range from simple cut-out shapes to be filled with simple embroidery, to intricate punches, weaves and other complicated embroidered designs. The incorporation of these techniques on each piece of artwork, easily takes anywhere between a few hours to a few days to complete, depending on the complexity of the designs. Since each piece is individually handcrafted, each design is unique and has its own distinctive characteristics.