Bead embroidery is simply a type of beads work in which a needle and thread is used to attach the beads to the base material in some type of design. Bead embroidery art has been a part of Indian culture for many thousands of years. Many artisans and weavers in rural areas, especially those in and around Rajasthan and Gujarat, have inherited the art of doing bead embroidery on fabric from their ancestors who first developed it. This exquisite and highly artistic art has to be differentiated from simple beads work or woven beads work. Here, the beads are not embellishments as they are actually attached to the cloth, but at the same time, they are not a part of the cloth either. This is what makes bead embroidery patterns so unique and attractive. In India, they are predominantly used to decorate fabrics (which can then be used as clothing or as décor), though bead embroidery jewelry is also a major product of beads stitching experts.
There are many different types of bead embroidery stitches, but chain stitching, back stitching and couching are the three most common ones. In chain stitching, the beads are simply attached to the cloth using continuous chain stitches (the beads are usually strung to the thread); in back stitching, the beaded thread is taken through the cloth and then back again to secure the bead in place (this can be done for individual beads as well as multiple beads); finally, in couching, the beads are placed on the thread in a particular pattern and then stitched into place. Each of these stitches gives a slightly different appearance to the bead embroidery patterns.
The main use of bead embroidery is in fashion, as this art form has a very vibrant and attractive look that is perfect for the creation of various ethnic and indo western clothes. There are many different types of bead embroidery fabric, though the fabrics used have to be strong in order to support the heaviness and wear and tear which bead embroidery necessarily causes. Thicker materials like crepe and georgette are amongst the more popular modern fabrics used. However, silk is still the most popular and in demand base for various types of bead embroidery designs. This is because silk has beautiful sheen and fine look that perfectly offsets the bead embroidery. Moreover, from the technical standpoint, silk is able to bear the weight of the beads work very well, despite its fine and lustrous look. Nowadays, open fabrics like tissue and net are often embroidered with bead work and then layered over heavier fabrics.
There are many types of bead embroidery designs in the market for women to choose from. The color and shapes of the beads plays as important a role as the base fabric in determining the look of the dress. Skilled embroiderers use beads of all sizes, from large, pea sized ovals to tiny spheres that can even slip through the eye of a needle. The smallest beads are often used in large quantities and combined in gorgeous, kaleidoscopic formations while the larger ones may be used in just a few numbers to create simple but striking bead embroidery patterns. The colors can also vary from bright hues such as sky blue, light green, scarlet red and orange to subtle pastel shades of purple and pink. On the other hand, monochrome beads of black and white as well as metallic beads with a gold, silver or copper hue are also very popular with Indian designers. Many a times, beads of different colors are combined to create beautiful, multi-hued designs on one garment. The beads can be of the same hue as the fabric, which adds a subtle and uniquely three dimensional effect or they can be in different hues to create an interesting visual contrast. The designs thus created can be simple waves, lines, shapes or dots, or they can be elaborate and stylized depictions of various nature and mythology inspired motifs. Intricate and detailed ethnic designs are a norm on various bead embroidery clothes and fabrics.
Wearing Beads Embroidery
Beads embroidery has become an integral part of ethnic fashion in the last few years and is today predominantly used to make beautiful and elegant clothes, from sarees and lehenga cholis to salwar kameez and kurtis. Even indo western clothing items such as tunics and tops come with this type of work. The most common way of utilizing beads embroidery in clothing is in the form of borders, which can be either large and elaborate or thin and understated. Sometimes, colorful detailing made of beads work is also added at the neckline and along the sleeves to increase the beauty of the outfit. It is best to pair these kinds of beautifully and heavily embroidered tops and tunics with beaded necklaces and Indian handbags.