The women of West Bengal traditionally transform rags into beautiful textile riches. They upcycle layers of old fabric with intricate stitches to create coverlets or Kantha in a style of embroidery based on the running stitch.
Women in the villages of West Bengal up cycle several layers of old fabric, usually saris using intricate stitches to create light coverlets or kanthas in a style of embroidery based on the running stitch. This transforms what were essentially rags into beautiful textile riches.
Since 90% of the population in Katna is Muslim, the designs produced for the label also reflect their aesthetic sensibilities with the absence of traditional motifs of figures and animals. Instead, they incorporate over a hundred and fifty geometric motifs which are passed on from one generation to the next. The skill of the artisans is evident in the stitching of the kantha itself; the women count each stitch as there is no drawing done prior to the stitching, practically weaving their products with every stitch based on their intuition and knowledge of the craft.
Katna’s kanthas are not just a great buy; buying them enhances the dignity and the self-worth of women stepping out to earn independently for the first time.
About Street Survivors India
Katna’s Kantha, a Street Survivors Project in Murshidabad, West Bengal, was founded by Shabnam Ramaswamy, a social activist, in 2004. Today it employs and empowers 1500 women in 50 villages.