Kantha quilts are hugely in demand due to their soft and unique texture that makes them warm and yet comfortable. They are lovely for light winters and can wrap you up in utmost comfort. The amount of hard work that is involved in the process of weaving a kantha makes it even more precious. In earlier days kantha quilts were passed off to newer generations as tokens of love and blessings that spread warmth among relations. This rare art form is a part of the traditional and rich culture of Eastern India and Bangladesh. Though the art form is restricted to only these parts of the world its worth is known nationwide and even overseas. We need to know the roots of these traditional forms of weaving and uphold them so that they never die out. The fact that this handmade increases the charm and ethnic appeal of your home when you treasure one.
Process of weaving:
There are several intricate and detailed steps involved in the process of kantha weaving. It is a long procedure that follows to create something as wondrous as the delicate kantha quilts.
- Firstly, making kantha quilts require a number of old cotton sarees. Layers of old cotton sarees are placed and smoothened out. They are pressed down with the help of weights to keep the layers plain and intact and sewn around the edges and along the entire length in run stitches. This makes the soft and delicate kantha quilt.
- Next comes the part of the intricate designs in the quintessential kantha stitch which enhance the appeal of the quilts. It is the unique designs which draw our attention to the aesthetic quality of these unique quilts you find nowhere else in the world.
- The design is charted out on paper. The artist sketches the design on paper according to specific frame and measurements.
- The designs when selected or finalized as flawless are then pierced on tracing paper.
- The designs made on the paper are then traced onto the cloth by using a fabric color through the tracing paper.
- Using the kantha stitch style the designs are then stitched along the lines of the tracing. At first the basic designs are made and then the filling is done. At times the artisans are skilled enough to design without even any tracing beforehand.
Popular designs and motifs seen:
The designs are usually done with colorful threads on a light color background. Occasionally artisans may use white threads over a deep background to highlight the designs. Sometimes the designs are intricate and spread all over the quilt but the usual motifs that are seen are usually leaves, floral patterns, birds, figures and traditional design patters. Often dots, lines and small shapes and self designed motifs fill up the fabric. You have to see it to believe it how simple dots and lines can look so exquisite on fabric. Elephants, peacocks, lotus, rose or a sheaf of paddy can often be seen on kanthas. Intricate ornamental designs all over the kantha quilts are called nakshi kanthas. These involve a lot of effort and are rare to find and often cost a bomb. If you possess one or inherit one do remember to treasure it.