Monday, 29 September 2014

Kantha Workshop with Dorothy Tucker

Saturday saw 18 of us turning up for the Kantha workshop.We spent some time arranging the room so it was conducive to the task. Groups of women sitting together chatting, laughing and stitching. Dorothy took us through the day step by step and managed to enable all of us to have some time with her.
The initial task was to layer up our fabrics making sure they were fine and soft enough to stitch and adding splashes of colour under the top layer

Dot happy in her work!

Lots of lovely colours being cut up.

We then had to put our 'map'  on paper and trace it onto the fabric.

The photo above and below show Dot and Dina using the source material we were given and adapting it to our own designs. Dorothy had photcopied a quilt and given us a part of the quilt to use as a starting point.

Elaine head down and hard at work!! tracing her design.

Mandy and Denise concentrating hard

Dot and Jean chatting!! but Dot's layers are ready for stitching

Dorothy suggesting ideas for Louise

Beautiful work by Dorothy's friend Surjeet Husain

A beautiful example by Dorothy's friend Jenny Bullen

more samples for us to admire

Dorothy was so helpful and inspiring

Here and below is the  work we produced on Saturday. Still lots to do but we all went home knowing what to do next. Considering they were all based on parts of an initial piece they are all so different

A lovely lovely day was had by all. And there was plenty of chatting and laughter  but also lots of learning . Its a very portable piece that can be carried around and worked anywhere.
Thank you Dorothy for a lovely day and thank you girls for making it fun. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Kantha Work - Dorothy Tucker

Our evening meeting proved to be very popular and we were "full to bursting."
It was lovely to welcome so many new faces.
We were so pleased to welcome Dorothy Tucker from the "Textile Study Group" and a member of the group "Prism"
 Dorothy spoke at great length regarding the origin of Kantha work. An embroidered quilt hand stitched from old worn out saris by layering up the better parts of the sari.
 Ladies would smooth out the layers of sari fabric and then with running stitch, stitch the layers together, making compartments.
 Ladies of Bangladesh would recycle the thread from the saris - nothing was wasted
 Often, as pictured here, the lotus flower is central to the work.
 The kantha work was a very intimate, personal thing. Made by individuals for a member of family. They may be to keep someone warm as demonstrated by Dorothy in this very old kantha. The kantha could be to sit on or to give as a gift for a loved one or a new baby in the family.
 You can see in this 1920's kantha, the running stitch which replicates the weave of the fabric - like a shuttle in a loom - from left to right, turn, right to left. Each line/row of stitch is a journey building up a pattern
 Here the design is in colour using paisley patterns, fish (fertility), birds, animals, the elephant (the remover of obstacles). The edges replicate the woven borders of the saris.
 I realise this picture is not upright - I want you to see the design and size of the kantha.
The rippling quality is symbolic - the importance of water in Bangladesh.
The items are practical with hidden meanings and are handed down as heirlooms to members of the family who desire them.
 Close up
Close up
 Close up of the lotus flower in the centre
Saris are now made industrially - instead of many layers there are two layers of cotton. The quilting is less complex and more spaced out in its application. The designs now are not one-offs representing symbols of importance to the individual. The designs are worked by many hands and are edged with tags so that they can be hung as a showpiece on the wall.
The back of the work is no longer lovely and neat and the threads are commercial and brighter in colour. They are still lovely but different.
 Dorothy holding one of her own pieces of kantha work - work in progress.
 Modern piece by a member of Dorothy's group.

 The edges are turned so that you can stitch right up to the edge in kantha
 This beautiful hanging of Dorothy's illustrates beautifully Dorothy's love for kantha work. She uses a large role of tracing paper, with outline drawings of things that make her happy. The objects do not have to be in proportion to one another.
 Another of Dorothy's pieces of kantha work. You can see that coloured layers of fabric are beneath and above the turban cotton.
 Two books recommended by Dorothy and used by her for reference. You will be very lucky to find the one above as it so old and worth hundreds of pounds.
Saturday will be the Kantha workshop - enjoy ladies!