Kantha Embroidery Technique – History

Kantha Embroidery Technique

Hand Stitch History – The Story

Kantha stitch is an ancient embroidery technique that originated in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. The exact origins of the technique are not known, but it is believed to have been used for over a thousand years. Kantha stitch was traditionally used by women in rural Bengal to create quilts, blankets, and other household textiles from old saris, dhotis, and other pieces of cloth.

In addition to being a functional embroidery technique, kantha stitch was also used to tell stories and convey messages. Women would embroider scenes from everyday life, mythological stories, and religious symbols onto their quilts and other textiles, using stitching as a way to communicate their beliefs and values.

Kantha embroidery textile with fish motif and colorful patterns  kantha embroidery technique

Kantha stitch gained wider recognition in the early 20th century when the Indian independence movement was gaining momentum. Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the independence movement, promoted the use of khadi, a hand-woven fabric, as a symbol of India’s struggle for freedom. Kantha stitch was seen as a way to elevate the status of khadi and promote it as a viable alternative to mass-produced textiles.

Today, kantha stitch continues to be a popular embroidery technique, used to create a wide range of textiles and other decorative items. It has also become a symbol of traditional Indian handicrafts and is often used to promote the country’s rich cultural heritage.

In conclusion, the kantha embroidery technique is a beautiful and intricate form of textile art that has been passed down through generations in rural Bengal. Its rich history, cultural significance, and unique techniques make it a valuable addition to the world of handicrafts. By supporting local artisans and preserving traditional crafts like the kantha embroidery technique, we can ensure that these skills are passed on to future generations and continue to be celebrated for years to come.

Want to learn how to do the stunning Kanta stitch – join Jamie Mason on her Colouricous course Fabricology

this course is part of a two-day class called Fabricology. It be held in a hotel in Central London. You will have a wonderful time taking part in this embroidery workshop. Book now!