Saturday, 8 February 2014

T A L K I N G   T H R E A D S

Text: Hina Nitesh

Embroidery is a craft that takes many forms. It is intriguing to see how a simple needle and coloured thread can create an array of stitches and patterns. In our country, the craft is passed on from mothers to their daughters and is used to embellish clothes and accessories. Taking this craft to a different level is the lady I am going to introduce today.

Tia Pankhi or the green parrot in Bengali is the brainwave of Anais Basu. Born in France, the lady has settled in India. She holds a degree in fashion and textile design from LISSA in Paris and has found her calling in the traditional crafts and textiles of India. 

Practiced in rural India especially in Bengal and Orissa, Kantha is the basic running stitch. It started with women layering old saris together with running stitch to form a light quilt. Slowly the art form graduated to adorn other things like shawls, saris, bedspreads etc. The elements in the traditional work were inspired by nature and the surroundings. 

Giving a modern and contemporary look to the art are designs by Tia Pakhi. Basu has reinterpreted the traditional embroidery style with a new colour palette and patterns. The motifs on her range of products are bold and geometric – bringing out the best in the technique. I fell for her floor cushions with are designed like the ludo, checkers and backgammon board and can be used for playing as well. In fact these cushion covers are accompanied with playing coins in an embroidered pouch!. Her designs are inspired by what she sees in the vibrant city of Kolkata - her new home. 

At the moment, Tia Pakhi’s range of products includes home furnishings like cushion covers, throws, bed and table linen etc. She has also started with a range for the kids. In her own way, she has ensured that the craft does not fade away and that the work has a global appeal. She retails her works through her store in Kolkata and in Paris.

You can also buy her creations online here

 All images are courtesy Tia Pakhi