Kantha is like a personal diary, a letter one writes to a particular person, and is not meant to be read by all. In East Bengal, the Kantha was a personal expression, an art-craft that was made spontaneously, even whimsically. It was never commissioned by rulers, nor ordered by the landed gentry. No two pieces are the same. It was craft that was practiced by women of all rural classes, the rich landlord’s wife making her own elaborate embroidered quilt in her leisure time, and the tenant farmer’s wife making her own thrifty, coverlet, equal in beauty and skill. The Kantha is an invocation to the gods and spirits for the prosperity and protection of the family. A real Kantha is able to narrate a story, and is much more compact in design and it is made out of used materials. It has been passed on for generations, from mothers to daughters and is largely a “dowry” tradition. Source
RUDE Girl has previously admired Kantha quilts in trendy boutiques. I have oftentimes thought of making a Kantha quilt. I did request that my local library source a book on Indian Kantha embroidery. Alas, the library officer could not find any books written on the topic. Should any of our followers know of a book written about Kantha please let me know.
Just this week RUDE girl was instantly inspired by this video to immediately make a Nakshi Kantha for our granddaughter Harriet’s christening in August. At the time of writing this blog post, I am equally inspired by the above passage of text on the craft of Kantha. Especially the sentence highlighted in orange.
On 22 July, I watched the video in the evening, and commenced to prepare the materials required to make my smaller cotton version of the sari quilt depicted in the video.
My fabric [image below] came from a hand-me-down stash my mother had given me. She had bought the fabric decades before to make frocks for her granddaughters, my nieces. The photo was taken in the evening, and does not reflect the true colours in the fabric. The thread and cotton batting fabric came from unknown pre-loved sources.
Before I knew it, three hours had passed, and I was a third of the way to finishing our prayer gift, to our granddaughter. Over the following three days, I managed a couple of Kantha stitching hours each day.
On day five, I hand washed my completed baby Kantha quilt. On day six, the 26 July, I attached the little applique owls, attached my RUDE label and gift bagged the quilt. After 10 hours, over 6 days, my baby Kantha quilt was ready to be gifted with handmade love.
When it came to a christening gift for our granddaughter, RUDE was determined not to let The Man be a part of our prayer to Harriet. God knows she will get enough consumerism in her life.
Beat The Man by crafting a baby Kantha if you can!!