Thursday, 8 July 2010

Shisha Mirror Work

shisha vintage

Section of a traditional wall hanging with shisha mirror work

As I mentioned before I am very interested in Shisha embroidery. I was going to write a blog post on it, but as I searched I found that many people have already gone over the subject and done a better job than I! So instead, here is a few links and artists I think you should check out if you are also interested in this subject.

Shisha means little glass and is the process of attaching round mirrors to fabric. The mirrors were placed in significant positions on clothing to ward off evil spirits and the evil eye. They were also used on decorative textiles to place over doorways etc to keep out evil spirits and on sacred textiles.

shisha 1

My own shisha experiments with bottle caps

Penny Nickles

Penny's work was what first lead me to Shisha. She has produced some beautiful pieces like her invisibility mask here and my fave experiment here

She also wrote an amazing article on Shisha for Mr X Stitch which you should read

shisha 2

Detail of my shisha work

How to Shisha

There are several tutorials online about the process of Shisha. I learned the technique from Joyful Abode here. It uses lots of photos and is really helpful.

Stitch Magazine posted this diagram on their site to show you how to Shisha with
instructions here

shisha 3

An alternative shisha stitch


On the Pakistani Embroidery Blog there is a different version of the stitch (pictures above)which you can learn to do here
I really like the shape of this version, but it hides more of the item being attached.

Sonie from Sonie's Embroidery World offers free square Shisha patterns
on her blog here, which I might have to have a go at!

beer cap belt WIP

Beer Cap Belt WIP

My Own Shisha Work

I have been experimenting with Shisha myself as you have seen from the photos throughout this blog. My main reason for the experiments was for a belt I am working on.... so above is a sneak preview of the work in progress... keep your eyes peeled for the finished product!


Shisha mirror work at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London


  1. Thanks so much for the shout out! I love the stitched object stuff too, I bet you'd get a kick out of some of my earlier pieces-
    Also, your Pakistani pinwheel stitch looks awesome! I haven't tried it yet, was it hard? I wasn't sure about including that tutorial because the photos were so blurry, but it looks like you figured it out. Really nice!

  2. No problem my dear - you're awesome!! I had a little bit of trouble with the instructions for the pin wheel. I think I do it a little bit differently from what they say but it worked out quite well.... perhaps I will have to sort out my own tutorial for it....