Indian Embroidery: Create a Talisman

A Virtual Class with Shahnaz Khan



There is a rich history of embroidery in India, spanning hundreds of years and encompassing many traditions and techniques. One tradition that remains strong and has grown in popularity throughout the world, is mirror-work. Known as Shisha, this is the practice of adorning ones clothing and textiles with mirrors or other reflective objects. It is thought that these “mirrors” have talismanic properties and are able to deflect evil spirits and protect against illness and death.

This virtual class is inspired by the Indian folk traditions of re-using and recycling fabrics, and creating decorative items out of whatever materials are available to you in your home. 

Participants are invited to create their own talisman using whatever materials are available on hand, or buried in the bottom of their craft box. 

All levels welcome.

Friday, March 1st, 2024


2 – 4 pm ET

Zoom, a link will be sent to participants
the day before class.



  • Scraps of fabric
  • 6 strand embroidery floss
  • Something shiny: dime size sequin, small coins, DIY mirrors made from soda cans.
  • Large needle: Chenille #22, tapestry needle, or any needle large enough to fit 6 strands of floss
  • Small needle: Darning #8, or any needle small enough to attach beads or sequins to your work
  • Felt (if available), or several layers of woven fabric
  • Miscellaneous beads, sequins, trinkets, shells, buttons, pompoms, tassels…



Shahnaz Khan

Shahnaz is an embroidery artist and educator focused on the preservation of traditional techniques and their use in contemporary art. 

Connected through her cultural heritage to Pakistan and Greece, Shahnaz loves what can be gleaned about culture and history through the various adornments of cloth with a needle and thread.

Her embroidery practice has led her to work on a variety of projects including: visual art collaborations, couture fashion (Alexander McQueen & Burberry) and most recently a commission for HBO’s Gossip Girl. 

An interview with Shahnaz is included in Jen Hewett’s 2021 publication, “This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community, and Connection”. 

Shahnaz lives in New York City where she works as a costume tailor for Broadway, film, & television, while maintaining her embroidery practice. 

Shahnaz loves teaching and hopes to be able to inspire her students to incorporate traditional embroidery techniques into their contemporary work.



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