What is Kantha Quilting? April 20 2017, 0 Comments

What is Kantha Quilting?

What is Kantha Quilting?

If you have walked into our shop it is quite likely you have heard word “Kantha”.  Maybe you heard “Kantha Blanket”, “Kantha Throw”, “Kantha Quilt”, ”Kantha Shawl” or even “Kantha Scarf”.  You might even recognize these colorful embroidered textiles but don’t really know how it got its name?

The simplest explanation is:  Kantha is the ancient Indian art of embroidery. 

But here is the deeper story:  ‘Kontha’ is a sanskrit word that literally translates to rags or patched cloth.  This is fitting because for centuries, women of Eastern South Asia have taken their textiles or articles of clothing that became too worn out and simply sewn them together for the most basic and practical purpose, to keep their family warm.

Over time, Kantha became a traditional art form and a skill developed through generations and they are no longer made from rags, they are fashioned from discarded saris.  Now the term ‘Kantha’ is universally known to describe the characteristic small, straight running stitch used to quilt these amazing one-of-a-kind pieces made from recycled saris.   Kantha textiles are now often purchased as meaningful handmade gifts, often as wedding gifts, gifts for mothers and as a vibrant way to add color to your home or wardrobe. 

Now that you know what Traditional Kantha is, let’s elevate it, a lot, to Fair Trade Kantha!

Kantha Stitching

Fair Trade Kantha is ethically produced.  The recycled saris used to make our beautiful pieces are acquired through social donations and since the cloth is re-purposed it means no new dyes or inks. Our handmade Kantha products are then hand-sewn and hand-stitched by a group of marginalized women artisans in an environment of community, unity and cohesion.   It is a happy and social communal workplace full of smiles and laughter as their children play together.  Because of Fair Trade, their craft provides so much more than living wage for these women in poor communities, it prevents exploitation.  Fair Trade allows families and communities the opportunity to stay together, in their village instead of moving to big cities in search of opportunity that they will not likely find.   

Fair Trade Kantha is perfect for the conscious consumer as we as a society are moving away from disposable consumer goods and moving towards meaningful handmade goods that have a low impact on our environment.  One World Fair Trade is honored partner with amazing Kantha producer groups and each and every one of our handmade Fair Trade Kantha products tells a story.  A story of repurposing, beautiful up-cycling, opportunity, dignity and women empowerment.  Each piece allows the intricate details and hard work of the original expensive saris be preserved among other beautiful pieces, creating something that is always unique and always one-of-a-kind (or is it two? they are reversible!)

Make your purchase make a difference.