Chitra Balasubramaniam


A Uzebekistan Suzani to Treasure

A simple design, minute satin stitches, and fabulous colors in the base fabric and stitching drew Chitra to this suzani textile.

The Goddess's Seat: A Small Sujni Quilt

With no flowers or animals, the geometric motif of this quilted sujni was an unusual find.

The Case of a Sodha Rajput Masala Bag

An embroidered bag from Chitra’s collection raises questions about its origins.

Ledra Quilts: Giving New Life to My Mother’s Sarees

Peel back the layers of recycled sarees to uncover the history of ledra quilts in India. Find out how the handstitched motifs rejuvenate reused textiles into striking works of needle art.

A Modern-Style Dowry Bag with Traditional Embroidery

This embroidered dowry bag bridges the gap between the traditional and modern. The shape meets the demands of current trends, but the stitching pays tribute to the needlework of vintage dowry bags.

Surma Dani: An Embroidered Bag from Afghanistan

In a market, Chitra chanced upon a little bag from Afghanistan, which led her to research its tribal origins.

Game of Kings: The Embroidered Caupar Game Board

The ancient game of Caupar is mentioned in several historical records, and several old paintings and embroidery pieces show kings and subjects playing it with gusto. It is still played with gusto across India.

Sujnis: Recycling Clothing into Quilts in India

For centuries, the need to create warm bedding together with an endless supply of old clothing has resulted in the production of elaborately embroidered sujnis in Bihar.

Upcycled and Recycled: Dhataniya Dowry Bags

For weddings, it is rare for all dowry items to be made brand new. In this case, an upcycled square piece of textile was embroidered and then folded in half and stitched along the sides to form a small bag.

Bagchi Dowry Bags

Bagchi are traditionally given to a groom before, during, and after the wedding.