Inspiration can come from anywhere. Rare documents, renaissance paintings, medieval manuscripts, architectural motifs, poetry, music, unknown poets, 11th-century gothic textiles, and everyday objects fuel our imagination. Ideas lead to intense research and trials with fabric, thread, color, and materials to create modern masterpieces.
Silk or cotton thread is hand-dyed to the exact color and tested for color abrasion. All other materials are also sourced locally in the city of Lucknow. A skilled Khaka artist sketches the entire design to scale on industrial tracing paper. The artwork is then perforated by hand and printed on fabric tightly stretched on a wooden frame with Indigo dye.
10-15 artisans sit around a wooden frame. Each is assigned a portion of the design by the head artisan. A hooked or awl needle is used for most Lost City embroideries resulting in chain stitches created by drawing the needle upward from beneath the taut fabric. Depending on the intricacies of the style a yard of fabric can take up to three weeks to produce. This technique of embroidery dates back to the 17th-century Mughal era.
Unfinished embroidery threads are cut off and each piece is checked for imperfections or any inconsistencies. The fabric is then hand washed and line dried and stretched back on a wooden frame. Finally, the yardage is ironed and prepared for shipping.