Sunday, March 28, 2010

Embroidered Hands & Feet

Last fall, my dear niece (and sometime guest blogger) K, attended the wedding of her good friend and former coworker. The bride (K's friend) and the groom are both Indian with many ties to that country and culture so the wedding was very different than any that I have ever been to.

K's description of the event (which occurred over several days) and the many photos she took, opened a tiny window into some very fascinating and beautiful traditions.

One custom that has never been a part of any of the weddings that I have attended, was the henna. I am not sure what part the henna designs play in the big picture. Maybe it is similar to the bride and her attendants all getting their nails and hair done, or maybe the process and designs are mystical or religious. Perhaps someday K will share the back story with us, but for now, I will share a few photos:

These are the bride's forearms...
(Doesn't it remind you of a fabulous piece of embroidery work?)
And this is the bride's ankle.

K also had henna on her hands.
This is after it is first applied...
This is what it looks like later, after washing, I am assuming.

On one of the pre-wedding trips to India, K's friend had some outfits custom tailored, so that K and her Manfriend, would not feel out of place at the festivities. She brought back several outfits for K to wear to the various events and Mf wore a traditional outfit with the most fabulous shoes, highly decorated with square toes that kind of turned up.

When we were visiting K last month, we got to see her outfits 'in person'. They were all highly embellished with fabulous beading and embroidery and just gorgeous! She mentioned that she had been looking for something to protect them from dust and I offered to make her some muslin garment bags.

This weekend, I decided that I had better make good on my promise!

This will go out in the mail to her tomorrow. I used the henna design from the palm of her hand as inspiration for a bit of embroidered trim.

I enlarged it from the photo, which compromised the quality quite a bit, so the detail is pretty vague, but I was pleased at how the stem stitch and outline stitch mimic the henna as it was first applied. I used a combination of two browns to get closer to the henna shade.

In some of the photos, I could see some patterns that the henna 'technician' used. I am thinking I might have to try to find some of those patterns...


Martha said...

Those are great photos. I love henna designs and think they are such a beautiful wedding tradition. Your idea of making and embroidering the muslin garment bag was so creative -- what a lovely and thoughtful gift.'re so right -- henna designs would make interesting embroidery patterns.

Iron Needles said...

That is beyond awesome. K is going to be so impressed by your efforts.

As I am. As always.

Allie said...

Oh WOW - that is amazing! You're absolutely right, the henna patterns are perfect for embroidering. I love what you did on the bag, that's just priceless - what a thoughtful and creative gift!

Gaynell said...

Who knew muslin garment bags could be so elegant. VERY nicely done!

Lynne said...

How creative and talented you are! She is going to be thrilled!

Those body parts are truly works of art.

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH!!!! THAT IS SOOOO NEAT! you are the best, THE BEST!!! On a side note, you can find the letters of her husbands name in her henna (Atul). The 'T' is somewhat noticeable in the center of the first picture, and the 'A' is directly below it in the second picture. The husband is challenged to find all the letters before they can kiss...or so that is the story!