I love the vibrancy of Banjara work, from the decorated bags, purses,
quilts et al. Bags are usually made of loose weave linen like fabric,
dyed with madder or indigo. Interlaced patterns on a running
stitch base, embellished with tassels, mirrors, and cowrie shells.
two embroidered belts -these are heavily stitched
over stitch, close herring bone and chain stitch
the top belt has the addition of mirror work
Originally from north India the Banjara became carriers
for the Mughal emperor Auranzeb. With the arrival
of the railway system they were no longer required.
Nowadays, Banjara, both men and woman can be
seen doing manual labour on building sites and
working on the new motorways being built
across India. A strange site, the newest machinery
for road building, along side Banjara women moving
earth in a metal dish carried on their heads. Even so,
they wear their traditional embroidered clothes,
complete with silver jewelry.
In Kanartaka, Lamanis, a sub caste of the Banjara,
move to Goa for the season. The 'boys' run the
food shacks on the beach, their mother's sell
tourist clothes, bags, scarves etc. Every Wednesday
there is a flea market at Anjuna, north Goa. Hippie
heaven, however, here you will find Lamani ladies,
selling their traditional work.
Sonya in all her tribal jewelry glory
detail of the sleeve of her chola
Khumb buttons, mirror work and tassels
I watched her stitching. No fine thread,
but acrylic wool.
skirt detail - cotton, pieced, with borders
of appliqued saw tooth points.
Inspired by Sonya's skirt, Banjara stitching, here is my
Journal Quilt for February.
and a detail