Suf embroidery is a type of counted thread weaving practised these days around the Kutch district of Gujarat and beyond. It is characterized by a sort of economy stitch worked from the back. The examples are for the most part dependent on a triangle or suf, and are geometric, symmetrical and exceptionally intricate. The coveted motifs of Suf embroidery aren’t ordinarily drawn onto the base fabric; instead, they are developed around a progression of triangles and diamonds. Frequently, little bits of glass or mirror (shisha) are incorporated into the patterns.
This type of weaving was generally used to embellish a bride’s collection of apparels and included as part of her family’s gifts to the bridegroom’s family. Suf embroidery was additionally known to be done in parts of Sindh, in present day Pakistan. In 1972, as an immediate consequence of the India-Pakistan War (1971), numerous Hindu groups, including embroiderers, moved from Sindh in Pakistan to neighbouring the Kutch region, thereby introducing novel components within the tradition of Suf weaving in Kutch.
“The themes are never drawn. Every craftsman envisions his or her plan, then counts it out, in reverse! Gifted craftsmen in this craft require a highly developed comprehension of geometry and sharp visual perception. A suf craftsman shows virtuosity in detailing, filling symmetrical patterns with tiny triangles, and accent stitches.”