A stitch in time

A stitch in time

Most youngsters try hard to disassociate themselves with art forms like embroidery. But Jayanthi Wali took to it at a young age and didn’t hesitate at all. A skill that has been passed down from mother to daughter in her family, it came with relative ease when she tried her hand at it.

Now, she has a wide collection of embroidered works that have been framed and displayed at her home.

Not quick to commercialise her work, the crafter says that she’d never be happy if she exchanged her work for money. “Even if someone offered a hefty amount for it, I wouldn’t be happy because there is a lot of effort that goes into making one piece. Most people don’t understand the hard work that goes behind making them. I might have thought about selling them years before, but now that we are financially secure, I wouldn’t even think about it!” she says.

She took to the needle art at a tender age. “I was in 12th standard when I started sharpening my embroidery skills. My mother was an expert at it and so were my sisters. It is part of our family. Though my sisters learnt it, I was the only one who pursued it and continue to do it even today.”

Jayanthi also runs a medical store but spends all her free time embroidering.
Talking more about her designs, she says, “I began making roses — different kinds
of roses — and other flowers. I’d give them a 3D effect. But later on, my children asked me to change themes so now I make leaves and things from nature.”

She has tried working on portraits and animals but they haven’t worked well for her. “You need a definitive design and structure to get a good result. It’s not like a painting, where you can add strokes and change the form. So far, portraits haven’t worked very well for me.”

Another unusual thing about her work is that she gives them a shaded effect.
“I use a format called ‘long and short’; it’s my favourite because I can shade. I start with darker shades on the inside and move to lighter ones as I go out. My mother used to work mainly on satins and her thread were sturdier.”

One of her works is that of the Sun, with dark shades of red in the centre and lighter ones around the edges. Over time, she has also learnt to boost up the threads a bit
to make it look three dimensional.

She is passionate about it and adds that she can’t go a day without picking up a needle. “Sometimes, it takes 20 days to finish a work, but I don’t mind because I have that kind of time now.”

While she has tried her hands at other forms of art, like painting on canvas, she mentions that she’s not too fond of it. “People have asked me to try other things and I have. Yes, paintings are less time-consuming to make, but they aren’t as satisfying as embroidering.”

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