The Call of the Real
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“What is Art? It is the response of man’s creative soul to the call of the Real.” (Rabindranath Tagore – Indian Poet, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, 1861-1941) This young woman is making a traditional Chikan embroidery (chikankari चिकनकारी چکن کاری) in her little village located nearby Lucknow. Creation of a chikan work piece begins with the use of one or more pattern blocks that are used to block-print a pattern on the ground fabric. The embroiderer then stitches the pattern, and the finished piece is carefully washed to remove all traces of the printed pattern. The patterns and effects created depend on the types of stitches and the thicknesses of the threads used in the embroidery. Some of the varieties of stitches used include backstitch, chain stitch and hemstitch. The result is an open work pattern, jali (lace) or shadow-work. Often the embroiderer creates mesh-like sections in the design by using a needle to separate threads in the ground fabric, and then working around the spaces.