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Don't cry over spilt milk: apprenticing with the last makers of the milkman's dress

Ghai, Lokesh (2014) Don't cry over spilt milk: apprenticing with the last makers of the milkman's dress. Masters thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The kediyun is an upper garment worn by men in pastoral communities in Kutch, West India. The garment is always white, attracting one's attention with its dramatic and elaborate cut. Traditionally, local women make them for the men in their family, more recently however, tailors have started making them. The research investigates the technique of constructing the kediyun. During the research I initiated three apprenticeships as a method of gaining a comprehensive understanding of the making of the kediyun. This allowed me to hand-make the kediyun and to immerse myself in the domestic environment of traditional makers. Traditional methods of measuring the body for garment construction, which had not been previously detailed, were studied during the apprenticeships. This led me to understand that each kediyun is specific to the maker’s body. The practice-led study of the kediyun, documented in the thesis in the form of still photographs and film, illuminates how the construction of a traditional Indian garment is an extension of the maker’s culture. This notion had largely been ignored in previous publications of stitched Indian garments. During the research, cultural aspects such as folk songs and religious and spiritual beliefs were recognised as informing the making process of the kediyun. Within the context of social groups, individual variations in kediyun construction are analysed. This highlights the creativity of the makers as individuals and the richness of the craft.

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