Gopika Nath works with needle and thread. A Fulbright Scholar and an alumnus of Central St. Martins, London, U.K, her association with textiles began in 1976. As a fibre artist, textile designer, writer and teacher her work spans many genres and her talent and expertise have been successfully employed by the Corporate Sector, the Handloom Industry, Retail Organizations, Fashion Designers, Exporters and Educational Institutes.She has been a trail blazer in many ways and initiated the ‘Art for Wear’ movement in India in the early 1990’s with her range of exclusive hand-painted sarees and scarves. She has also worked with leading Fashion Designers, creating speciality fabrics for Rohit Bal, Rina Dhaka, Gitanjali Kashyap and Ashish Soni, among others.
Teaching has been integral to her art-practice from the commencement of her career. In addition to teaching traditional subjects relating to design, she conceived, designed and taught a design sensitization programme for management professionals. She presently conducts workshops using textiles/embroidery as a tool, bringing forth ancient ideals of hand-crafting into the contemporary environment, to help alleviate stress, enhance creativity and develop leadership qualities.
Ms. Nath has considerable experience in working with crafts people in the rural sector. Working with various agencies under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, and private organizations, she has undertaken projects for design and development of fabric in Block printing, Ikat fabrics in cotton and silk for Furnishing, Sarees, Hand woven Dhurries, as well as Kashmiri, hand embroidered chain stitch fabric and Crewel rugs. She has also worked in the tribal region of Bastar [Chattisgarh], reviving the dying, handloom art of the region.
Working for decades with textiles in its many avatars, Gopika has taken the medium beyond the form and function of design. Having been exposed, quite considerably to the existing hand-crafted textile traditions of India, she is inspired to embroider rather than paint on a canvas. She believes that Textile Art, in the Indian context, is a key element in redefining the India’s hand-crafting legacy and its future in the mechanized/digital world. Working with needle and thread, exhibiting her work as an artist-craftsperson in the environs of the Art Gallery, her work lends dignity to the notion of hand-crafting. In presenting it as ‘Art’, she brings awareness of the nuances of textile making and the ideals which created the textile legacy of India, thus elevating the value of hand-crafting beyond that of skilled labour which it is largely considered today.
While questioning the existing parameters of Art, and re-defining the demarcations between art craft and design through Art for Wear, Installations, teaching, writing and other creative expression of her ideas, Gopika is also working towards evolving a personal iconography through which she can present ideas that have their antecedents in this global society, but are also deeply rooted in the Indian ethos.
She is well travelled and presents a world view in all her activities and ideas. Gopika Nath has studied in London, and lived there for 7 years. As a Fulbright Scholar, she has spent time in the U.S. researching Textile Art in America, and has also visited Japan, sponsored by the Japan Foundation, on an exchange programme to meet and interact with Asian Textile Artists/ Designers and exhibit her work. She is currently involved in various Art, Design, Research and Teaching activities. Gopika is an Art critic and she also writes Creative Non-fiction and Poetry.