Popularising the Aari Stitch

Published: 31st December 2014 06:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2014 06:06 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Training around 300 women in aari embroidery, Jayamalini Kumaran, who runs Sri Aari Creatives, has been popularising the embroidery technique that dates back to the 12th century during the reign of the Mughals, in the city of Chennai.

aari-embroidery.jpgA fine and delicate embroidery pattern, the work is done by stretching the fabric over a frame. Using crochet-like needles for chain stitches on a drawn out pattern forming the base of the work, aari is extensively done with zari, stones and small beads.

“With intricate designs that are done on zari, embellished with sugar beads, kundan and kardana, aari work caught the fancy of women in the city after actor Khushbu popularised it through a TV show. After that there has been a blouse trend and I began getting orders. So far, around 300 women, mostly homemakers, and young girls have learnt the art from me. They have started taking orders and run classes too,” she says.

Following her passion for crafts and art work from a young age, Jayamalini began learning aari work from people engaged in it in Vellore, almost seven years ago. Following up with lessons in Coimbatore and Salem, she began undertaking classes in Chennai. After opening her FB page almost three years ago, she began undertaking orders for aari work alongside classes. 

Jayamalini reckons that the embroidery technique, which has a high aesthetic appeal, is tedious and time-consuming as well. “Since both hands are used for stitching, you need to have a great deal of practice. Getting the basics right might take up to three classes on an average,” she says.

Jayamalini, who also specialises in terracotta work and jewellery making, can be reached at

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