Caro Higgs – Country – Architecture

Kalash Architecture

Inspired by a photograph I took years ago while visiting the Kalash valleys.

Continuing with my series in the north-west of Pakistan the idea of architecture as we know it is one that doesn’t really exist. The Kalash villages are in three valleys which create the frontier with Afghanistan, they are in the very beautiful Hindu-Kush mountains and houses tend to built on steep slopes leaving the flatter land for subsistence agriculture. The houses are basic and dark, one person’s roof becomes another’s terrace and there are steep paths or tree trunks with steps carved into them which serve as ladders leading between them. With my big feet I found them fairly difficult to negotiate! The buildings are made with rock, mud and stones within a basic wooden structure. There is little decoration although some of the supporting pillars are carved or shaped.

I started by painting a very basic landscape and then I placed dyed jemima fabric ( a slub silk/cotton mix) over the top and hand-stitched mainly with chain stitch to build the buildings. When they were all completed I cut away the sections which were not buildings and let the landscape show through. There are then appliquéd rocks which are machine stitched. I tried to make the subject of architecture the most dominant part of the quilt so I paid less detail to the other surroundings.

Detail view:

  1. Well done! I find it fabulous, perfectly designed and realized. The perspective and depth perfectly convey the idea of Kalash architecture. Bravo!

  2. studiociboulette

    Beautiful Caro. I love the texture of the fabric you chose. Beautiful attention to details and incredible embroidery. Bravo

  3. A beautiful interpretation and superb design and choice of fabric.

  4. your story make me wish to be there and to see all. I admire your hand stich.

  5. Very interesting story around your piece ! I like the fabric you used for the houses and your stitching is so regular and so well done , as usual ! Bravo !

  6. joanbrailsford

    Your piece really reflects the dense way that the houses are piled on top of one another. Your hand-stitching is so accurate (I wish my chain stitch was this neat), and highlights the structures. Well done

  7. A clever technique to ‘build’ the houses in this way. Very effective. The colours are subtle but work perfectly.

  8. At first sight you can’t see the buildings are made of one piece of fabric. There is dept in your piece. The hand embroidery is very well executed.

  9. Such tiny chain stitches and so neatly executed. Just beautiful. Makes you want to see this in person. That background peeping through gives it great depth. Very well done!

  10. Another great quilt made with an (almost) monchromatic color pallete. The precision of your handwork is stunning and does so much to enhance your piece.

  11. I so admire your patience regarding your meticulous hand embroidery. Love how you built the design and did cut away some parts to let the landscape peep through. A beautiful piece and it must have been a wonderful experience to visit this region.

  12. Love your amazing hand embroidery, such attention to detail! Wonderful interpretation of the Kalash arquitecture. Bravo!

  13. Very interesting , both the picture and the story behind it. Perfect execution!

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