Anyone who knows Gujarati or Hindi knows that Mochi means a cobbler. So when I first heard my dealer say that a category of very fine embroidery is known as mochi work it surprised me.\nAs always, my first reaction to believe that maybe my knowledge is incomplete or wrong \u2013 and so I wondered whether the word \u2018mochi\u2019 as I understood it had some other roots. Because the finesse of the stitch seemed to be antithetic to the stitch of cobblers.\nIn fact our sowing teacher in school (Grade 5), Mrs. Lobo, would reprimand us for untidy embroidery saying that we were stitching like cobblers. [those were the good old days when teachers & parents did scold children and the children and society were all better off]\nCobblers were meant to be using large needles and their stitches were meant to be large too \u2013 to suit the medium they worked on. And on that basis, the idea that they produced only rough work took root.\nIn those days when people were content in their own lives and travel was neither easy nor was it the stylish thing to do, it is quite likely that Mrs. Lobo, a resident of Bombay but hailing from Goa or Mangalore,\u00a0 had not been to the remote areas of Gujarat or the Kutch. And therefore it is likely that she had no exposure to the fine embroidery of the mochi community executed on silk.\nAnd so unbeknownst to her, she was bestowing compliments on us noobs instead of the caustic corrective words that she intended.\n[The opposite just occurred to me: Maybe she DID know of mochi embroidery and maybe my work was really so good!!! Possible but improbable.]\nThe mistake in my thinking was that I defined the work of cobblers by the idea of large stitches. What one needed to focus on was the challenge of working on the tougher medium of leather. The fact that generations working on the same craft meant that learnings and experiences would have been passed down to create a larger deeper collective understanding \u2013 somewhat like the \u2018Big Data Analytics\u2019 we see today.\nThis\u00a0 is what probably resulted in an innovation \u2013 the use of the hook \u2013 that further resulted in the evolution of the craft.\n***\nHere is an enlightening note on the technique\u00a0 written in 1957 by John Irwin and Babette Hanish published in the \u201cNeedle and Bobbin Bulletin\u201d [wow! there is such a bulletin!!! \u2013 the world is so full of surprises!!]\nArticle on Mochi Embroidery Technique\n***\nSome photos of Mochi work from my visit to the museums in Bhuj in 2007.\n \nAnd a beautiful beautiful piece that went under the hammer in 2014 for nearly US$10,000 at Bonhams.\n\nAm marveling at the mochi embroidery depicted within this mochi embrodiery!\n\nMochi embroidery is now an extinct art \u2013 am not sure though but this is what dealers have told me.\nI can only hope that someone will come along and tell me that I am wrong!\njm\nNov 2015\nReferences\nwww.bonhams.com\nwww.cs.arizona.edu\n\u00a0\nThe post Mochi or Cobbler Embroidery of Gujarat appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.