MUKESH: An Evergreen Artform

Clothing has seen its fair share of creativity in terms of not only designs but the usage of threads as well as other special raw materials for embroidery and beautification. Mukesh work is a highly sophisticated form of embroidery whereby metallic strips are inserted into the cloth or fabric and then in a unique way twisted to make what is called metallic embroidery. Using the twisting method, the fabric is utilized to create entire patterns of utmost brilliance.

History of Mukesh

Initially, it is said that the Mukesh work, or more simply metallic embroidery utilized gold and silver strips for embroidery. The clothes were worn by princesses and queens to increase their beauty and elegance ten times the fold. However, as art progressed and reached the hands of the common artisans, the raw materials shifted from gold and silver to a variety of other materials as well. The beauty of this transition from high-end raw material to cheaper alternatives did not cascade its unique luxury, and even still to date, it is being performed on all forms of clothing items.

Process of making Mukesh Art

The making of a single fabric is a long and laborious task, done with hard work, talent and love. A single item takes 3 steps to be completed and formed into an exuberant piece. The 3 steps in the creation of this beautiful art as:

  • Chapayi
    In the first step, the entire pattern or design is embossed into the fabric via perforated paper stencil or block print. This acts as a blueprint for the artisans when they start the embroidery.
  • Takayi
    The second step is a tricky one as this is where the metal strips take their form and become the elegant piece of strip that is used for embroidery. In this step, particularly the metal is stretched into strips and then it is passed through fire. Afterwards, it is cut into very fine wires and with a hammer beaten to decrease the density of the wire to paper thin,
  • Ghutayi
    Once the embroidery is done according to the blueprint, the fabric is laid out and then flattened and brightened with a glass bottle. This removes any lumps in the embroidery. It also brushes the metal and makes it shinier.

Mukesh work has been used as a symbol of elegance and delicate craft for centuries in the sub-continent. To date, it continues to dazzle the crowd with extreme creativity in designs, fabric use and the precision of artists in creating a work of art