Embroidered shisha work is a method of working which attaches small bits of mirror glass or reflective metal onto fabric. The phrase shisha comes from ancient e-shisha Persian for glass and the technique originally began at the Moghul court and has become most connected with aspects of India, where the popularity of this kind of embroidery occurred during the time of the development of glass making there. As elsewhere in the world, glass was originally a pricey commodity connected with wealth. Decoration with glass mirror fragments was not only applied to textiles but in addition on buildings, embedded in plaster, to create elaborate patterns and sumptuous designs.

When applied to textiles for clothing and for religious or decorative hangings, shisha mirrors are traditionally found in repeating patterns. The inclusion of this kind of embroidery adds sparkle and depth to fabric textures and when used traditionally are regarded as auspicious in that they will give protection contrary to the evil eye.

No glue is mixed up in application of the shisha mirrors; a network or grid of holding stitches is the building blocks on which the shisha stitches (a kind of herringbone stitch) are worked. Most of the work is done by hand. Many different stitches can then be properly used to enlarge the design around the mirror and beads and sequins may be incorporated.

Shisha mirror decoration offers great potential to hand-embroiderers to improvise with pattern. They combine well with the richness of colour and texture of silk fabrics and can also be used to embellish patterned fabrics. They can be utilized in a repeating design as they were originally or can be utilized alone to add accent to decoration. They lend themselves beautifully to decoration on accessories such as for example bags, purses and even fabric jewellery, such as for example brooches, hair accessories or cuffs. Accessories with hand-embroidered shisha mirrors are unique and individual as they are hand stitched and one-of-a-kind items. Anyone using or wearing these unique items will have a way to reflect their own personal style by having an item that’s had time, skill and flair taken in its design and making.

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