The word Kantha is used to describe a type of decorative embroidery stitch that was historically popular in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.
Originally Kantha , a simple running stitch, was a method of mending clothes. Rural women of Bangladesh used threads from the borders of their old saris to mend garments. Kantha is most commonly known for it’s use in traditional quilt making. Layered fabric pieces, often old saris, are stitched together to make decorative quilts, throws and shawls.
Though still used in traditional quilt making, Kantha has evolved into an embroidery art form. The once simple running stitch is used in various sizes and formations to create beautifully detailed designs on clothing, quilts, scarves etc. Highly elaborate Kantha can also be found in traditional folk art that depicts stories through images of animals and nature sewn on fabric one stitch at a time.
Female artisans at both Swallows and Artisan Hut are highly skilled in Kantha. Their technique demonstrates the versatility of this simple, yet impressive running stitch. The quality of their work is so precise that it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s not machine stitched!
The Azadi Project collection includes several pieces that showcase Kantha in both traditional and modern interpretations. We are committed to regularly incorporating this culturally rich technique in our contemporary designs. We’re proud to contribute to the preservation of this ancient and beautiful art form.