Kantha stitch takes fashion, furnishings by storm
Reverse Kantha embroidery.
Kantha was a form of recycling, practised by the rural women of Bengal to make quilts and babies' wrappers (kantha) by tucking in layers (usually 3) of sarees and discarded cloth and embroidered with intricate motifs - folk, birds, animals and village art, using the simplest of stitches - the run stitch.
The thread used for embroidery was derived from the border of old sarees.
However, the variety and techniques of run stitches that were used to outline and fill in the motifs imparted the kantha its exclusivity and thereon the kantha stitch became a fine art.
"It is not kantha without the intricate fine stitching work," Ruby Pal Choudhuri, 82, executive director of the Crafts Council of West Bengal, told IANS.
The kantha stitch, which was earlier restricted to folk and village motifs on quilts and wrappers, has spread its horizons.
Shedding light on current trends, designer Sharbari Datta said: "I incorporate a lot of cave and folk art, Egyptian murals, calligraphy of West and East Asia, still life, pop art and Picasso, miniatures and Hindu Mythology in my designs."