Applique craft The process of cutting coloured cloth into various shapes and stitching them on a piece of bright coloured cloth. Applique motifs in contrasting colors are cut in the shape of animals, birds, flowers, leaves, celestial bodies and geometric shapes, and stitched onto the base cloth in aesthetic arrangements. Raised motifs are prepared by giving several folds. The actual grace of applique craft lays in the intricate stitches namely bakhia, guntha, turpa, chikan and other very delicate and esoteric embroidery techniques. Nowadays, small mirrors and bright metal pieces are also used for greater effect. After attaching the applique patches to the base cloth, the borders are stitched.
is the main source of livelihood for the village folk. All the family members are usually involved in this craft. Skilled persons of the family go for beautiful intricate designs while the less experienced stitch the borders and prepare the base clothes. Most of the hand stitching is done by the women, while the finishing and machine stitching is carried out by the men.
Most of the applique is produced for a growing tourist market. In the past, craftsmen used to make canopies, banners, umbrellas and trashas (fans) for festivals held in Puri's famous Lord Jagannath Temple. A famous example of an enduring applique work is the enormous canopy above Lord Jagannath, the reigning deity of Puri.
However, as the craft's popularity spread far and wide by word of mouth through the pilgrims visiting Puri, the craftsmen started making other utility items in sync with modern day requirements like lampshades, handbags, cushion covers etc.