Embroidered shisha work is a technique of working which attaches small bits of mirror glass or reflective metal onto fabric. The phrase shisha comes from ancient Persian for glass and the technique originally began at the Moghul court and has become most associated with regions of India, where the popularity of this type of embroidery occurred at the time of the development of glass making there. As elsewhere on the planet, glass was originally a costly commodity associated with wealth. Decoration with glass mirror fragments was not only used on textiles but also on buildings, embedded in plaster, to form elaborate patterns and sumptuous designs.
When used on textiles for clothing and for religious or decorative hangings, shisha mirrors are traditionally used in repeating patterns. The inclusion of this type einweg eshisha of embroidery adds sparkle and depth to fabric textures and when used traditionally are regarded as auspicious in that they may give protection against the evil eye.
No glue is active in the application of the shisha mirrors; a network or grid of holding stitches is the building blocks on which the shisha stitches (a type of herringbone stitch) are worked. Every one of the work is completed by hand. Many different stitches can then be utilized to enlarge the design round the mirror and beads and sequins can 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 may be used in a repeating design as they were originally or may be used alone to add accent to decoration. They lend themselves beautifully to decoration on accessories such as for instance bags, purses and even fabric jewellery, such as for instance brooches, hair accessories or cuffs. Accessories with hand-embroidered shisha mirrors are unique and individual since they’re hand stitched and one-of-a-kind items. Anyone using or wearing these unique items will have a way to reflect their very own personal style having an item that has had time, skill and flair taken in its design and making.