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 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!