Issue #006, Autumn, 2020 ISSN: 2581- 9410
Interviews with Dr. Ismail Mohmed Khatri, Umar Faruk Khatri, Vishramji Valji Siju, Naran Mandan Siju, Lachhuben Raja Rabari, Shamji Vishramji Siju, Irfan Anwar Khatri, Prakash Naran Siju, and Mukhtar Jakriya Khatri compiled by Judy Frater
How did you learn embroidery? I asked a Dhebaria Rabari woman.
“I didn’t learn it,” she corrected me. “I knew it.” It was a succinct and profound assessment of the distinction between traditional ways of learning and formal education.
Lachhuben teaches her daughter Rami embroidery, c. 1994
Among Rabaris, embroidery is passed from mother to daughter.
Photo Credit: Judy Frater
Lachhuben Raja, a 65-year-old Kachhi Rabari woman, recalls how when she was fifteen or sixteen she learned embroidery. She and her friends would sit together and stitch. She never went to school. But the girls worked as if in a class, intent on mastering the unique Rabari style.
On small scraps of fabric, she first learned tight square chain stitch, then setting mirrors- round first, then shapes. At this point, her mother helped; since she knew the traditional patterns, she stitched the ou...