What if tattered tales of love, betrayal, jubilation, sorrow, and at times even mirth can we worn and draped around oneself? Imagine how earthy and beautiful bed linen can look when a running stitch embroidery called Sujuni embellishes the layered fabric! A long-standing practice among women of Bihar, what makes Sujuni stand out is the rare narrative elements in its embroidery.
The ladies of the household, including her mother, would get together in the courtyard, sitting, chatting, adding tiny running stitches to old saris and other pieces of cloth, and putting these beautiful quilts together. A fine stitch running all over the sheet in the same colour as the base cloth creates the background, upon which motifs are outlined in chain stitch. The design is then filled in with tiny running stitches in coloured thread.”
Sujuni had motifs from religion, nature, and daily life. With the advent of voluntary organizations encouraging women to stitch tales from their daily lives, they started weaving motifs inspired by social, and personal issues like domestic violence, female infanticide, effects of alcoholism and gambling on a family, evils of dowry, education of girls, lessons in health-care, and even AIDS. It is almost a miracle witnessing these women stitch their experiences, sorrows and realities onto the cloth, transforming mundane quilts into testimonies of their lives.