Mili Tharakan: Zardozi Embroidery

Credits: Mili Tharakan
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Materials: Zardozi – metal wire, Cotton fabric, Embroidery loop, Fine sewing needle, Cotton sewing thread
Techniques: The fabric to be embroidered is traced with the desired pattern and stretched onto an embroidery loop. It is important that the fabric is taut so that the embroidery can be done evenly. The zardozi thread is cut into the required length depending on the pattern. Techniques such as couching and cross-hatching are used to get different effects. A fine needle and thread is passed through the inside of the zardozi thread and embroidered down onto the fabric. The next piece of zardozi is then threaded onto the needle and again embroidered down. Since the zardozi is cut into smaller pieces, it lends itself to smooth curves and circles which are commonly used in zardozi work to create designs such as flowers and leaves. For use in e-textiles, couching would be a more suitable technique or by closely embroidering many rows so that each pieces is touching the next for good conductivity.
Dimensions: 16×13

Description: Zardozi is a fine metal thread, thus making it a conductive thread. Zardozi work is one of the metal embroideries done traditionally in India. The zardozi thread is a very fine metal wire (originally silver coated in gold) that is curled up tightly like a spring. These are cut into small pieces and embroidered on heavy silks, satin, velvet or a heavy base so that the fabric can hold the weight of the zardozi. Zardozi is complimented with other metal thread embroidery and semi-precious stones.This technique is usually used on wedding and other elaborately embroidered garments as well as to embroider Quran verses on fabric. Since zardozi is a conductive material, there is a lot of potential to explore this material in the area of smart textiles. Although the traditional technique is to cut and embroider the yarn, it can also be couched to the fabric so that it does not have to be cut. The flexible and fine wire lends itself for easy embroidery.

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