Kantha work is embroidery done on used apparel, renewing their looks and extending their life. It is a unique art from Murshidabad in former Bengal. Kantha Work is essentially done on old sarees, dhotis and other apparel. It is a running stitch on the sarees in the form of motifs such as animals, birds, flowers, simple geometrical shapes and scenes from everyday life.
The interesting journey of Kantha
Bengali women used to mend their old clothes by making designs from a strand of thread off the colorful border of their saris. This led to an art practiced by rural women securing them a respectable means of earning a modest income. Kantha work done on a saree gives it a wrinkled and wavy look and transforms old clothes into extraordinarily new creations. Though the running stitch is most popular for its ease, other forms of stitch such as darning stitch, satin stitch and loop stitch are also used. Kantha stitching is also employed in the making of quilts, known as Nakshi Kantha. Women use old saris and other cloth, layering them with the kantha stitch to make small blankets and bedspreads, for children. Kantha embellishes a wide range of garments, such as sarees, dupattas, shirts, bedding and a variety of other fabrics in cotton and silk. Old saris and dhotis are transformed by kantha work to serve as gifts for beloved ones.
Based on the use of the fabric, Kantha is divided into seven different types, of which Lep Kantha and Sujani Kantha are famous. Kantha is a way of life; a tradition that is still followed meticulously. kanthas are prepared for small babies to lie on, wedding kanthas are made by mothers and gifted to their daugthers and kantha is present on the ceremonial cloth meant for funeral rites.
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