The rural women of Bengal have for centuries, recycled old saris and dhotis and tacked them together with a simple running stitch. Filled with cotton, these worn saris became warm quilts that were personalised with unique embroidery, often becoming family heirlooms. This type of work is known as kantha. The only tools used were a sewing needle, some thread and a round, wooden frame. Taught by their mothers, who in turn were taught by their mothers, many women have made kantha stitching their livelihood. It is a dignified source of income in a region where women can be vulnerable to exploitation.
Malika’s Kantha Collection has been working to revive and energise kantha for three decades, allowing kantha to develop away from the traditional confines of a quilting stitch and increase the variety of ways it can be used. This heritage stitch, while it has its roots in utilitarian household purposes, it also now has a place on the most exquisite and intricate garments and homewares while retaining the spontaneity, ethnicity and magic of the earlier quilts.
To follow the story of Malika's Kantha Collection & Trading, find them on social media here.