In Bengal, Kantha was a typical spare time activity of rural women. Layers of old cloth - usually saris - were stitched together for reuse.
The word Kantha signifies both the object as well as the style of embroidery. Women spend months, sometimes even years, working on a single piece.
Traditionally, several layers of old fabric - usually saris - were stitched together, with intricate and elaborate stitches. The technique of layering and stitching together cloth significantly extended its life and made a durable and warm textile, appropriate for bedding or cover.
The thread used for the stitches was usually pulled out of the sari itself. The meticulous artistry that was then applied transformed worn-out rags into extraordinarily beautiful creations.
Stitches from traditional Kantha Embroidery of Murshidabad, West Bengal
Exhibition at Crafts Museum: 2013 — Dr Ruchira Ghose, Mushtak Khan
In collaboration with — Shabnam Ramaswamy, Street Survivors India, Murshidabad, West Bengal
Online exhibit credits — Consultants - Digitization, Crafts Museum - Gunjan Tripathi, Visetuonuo Kiso and Habib Ahamad