Kantha - A magical hand-embroidered craft from Bengal
Let us trace back to explore one of the most popular hand-embroidered craft forms of India known as Kantha. From sarees to dupattas, salwar suits, and shawls, this craft form never ceases to amaze handcraft lovers and people willing to experiment with their fashion style. Each product exhibits the charisma of this old tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Kantha embroidery is popularly practiced by the women of Bolpur, a place in Bengal. It began with the Bengali housewives mending old clothes by taking strands of threads from the borders of the sarees, making beautiful new designs.
The history behind Kantha
Kantha, one of the oldest forms of the embroidery craft, originated in the Eastern regions of Bangladesh, West Bengal, Orissa, and Tripura. It began around 500 centuries ago. The thought behind this embroidery is to use old fabric to create something new. There is a myth surrounding this craft form that Lord Buddha and his disciples used old rags with different patchwork to cover themselves at night, and this was the origin of Kantha embroidery. In earlier times, women in the regions of Bangladesh and Bengal used to take their old sarees and stitch them to make beautiful blankets to cover their children during the cold nights. From quilts and blankets, the popularity of Kantha grew, and clothing in this craft form emerged. These included sarees, dupattas, shawls, and salwar suits.
The designs and motifs of Kantha
The inspiration behind the beautifully embroidered motifs on the fabric came from their day to day life. They were animals, flowers, folk scenes, fisheries, etc. The thread colors mostly used are black, green, yellow, blue and red.
Kantha & Reverse Kantha - Kantha stitch is usually done inside a motif, making the entire design using the embroidery. When the embroidery is outside the design, keeping the motifs empty, that is known as reverse Kantha. Both have their own charm.
The people behind Kantha
Kantha embroidery is a craft form done mostly by women. It has been passed down from mother to daughter and is widely practiced in Hooghly, Murishdabad, Birbum of West Bengal. Bolpur-Shantiniketan is the main hub for the production of Kantha sarees, dupattas, shawls, and other products.
Phulari’s Kantha embroidered products are made lovingly in Shantiniketan, a small town in West Bengal. While Kantha is also practiced in Rajasthan and Punjab areas, with changes to the threads used, or fused with other art forms, the avid admirers of Kantha can spot the differences.
The finish of Kantha products
Unlike some of the other hand-embroidered products that have an unclean finish at the back with threads left, Kantha products come with a neat back finish. The fine cotton silk threads used do not break easily, and good quality threads don't bleed colour. Some clothing may look like print and not embroidery when looked at from a distance, that’s how neat the work is.
What sets Kantha embroidered products apart from the other hand-embroidered products is that accessorising it with embellishments or sequins isn't necessary. The innovativeness in the stitches and designs is enough to evolve the magic.
Today, the demand for Kantha products is not restricted to India. People from across the globe love this craft form. Even international designers have reached out to these local sellers to use this embroidery in their clothing creation.
Maintenance of Kantha products
It is not very difficult to maintain Kantha products. A hand wash would be just perfect and wouldn't ruin the embroidery on the saree, dupatta, shawl, and salwar suit. Depending on the fabric used, consider dry wash.
Kantha Apparels by Phulari
At Phulari, you will find a playful mix in the Kantha collection. The collection includes sarees, dupattas, salwar suits, stoles, and even shawls. Each of them has unique designs hand-embroidered on different fabrics. They are bright and alluring, sure to create a style statement. Some of these pieces take months to make, so there is a high waiting time for custom-made products. Due to the embroidery done by hand, repeating the exact design multiple times is next to impossible. Sometimes the karigars working on the same products are different, so there are bound to be minor differences, hence making each product unique.
Kantha is for those who like to be different and sport unique designs, and if you’re one of those who wants something designed to their spec, just get in touch with us and we can make something as per your liking.
A perfect blend of comfort and elegance, this Assam Kantha cotton silk saree is ideal for all occasions - casual meetups, small gatherings, pujas, and other celebrations. To elevate this saree, pair it with origami or oxidised or Kundan jewelry. These kantha sarees are budget-friendly and popular in every woman's wardrobe.
Are you wondering what to wear at the next celebration or event? We have just the outfit for you, an Art silk Kantha embroidered saree. This blue saree has beautifully hand-embroidered flowers in multi-colored threads on the entire fabric. It is elegant, fashionable, and captivating, making it an ideal pick. Just pair it with some bangles and earrings to complete the look.
Give a traditional touch to your western or fusion outfit by adding a tussar silk Kantha embroidered stole. It is light and easy to carry, making it apt for people who wouldn't prefer to carry a full length dupatta. This Kantha stole comes with a cream base with colorful floral motifs hand-embroidered on the whole fabric. These designs are inspired by the day to day lives of rural people.
Budget-friendly Kantha embroidered dupattas on cotton fabric are here for all those wanting to add this craft form to their collection. Match it with a white, black or red ensemble, and you are ready to steal attention whenever you go. These dupattas are available in more attractive colors.
Be it a casual gathering with friends or a day at work, sporting this Kantha embroidered salwar suit will give you a classy look. It is bright and fresh with an intricately embroidered design on the entire fabric. The salwar itself is so beautiful and eye-catching that accessorising it with jewelry is not necessary.
For people who prefer full length dupattas with a luxurious feel, this Bangalori silk dupatta with Kantha embroidered flowers is a must-have in your wardrobe. It is versatile and will go perfectly on many of your ethnic or fusion outfits. Just adding this Kantha dupatta will bring all the beauty to your appearance.
Add oodles of elegance with our Jamdani silk Kantha embroidered saree. It has a brownish red base with symmetrical pattern on the entire fabric. It is a bit expensive compared to the Assam kantha saree because of the fabric and type of work involved. Pair it with a necklace, earrings and bangles for a complete desi look.
Among all the silk collection sarees in your wardrobe, it's time to add a unique one. It is trendy, alluring, and you are bound to hear wows and gasps. We present to you our pure silk Kantha embroidered saree. It is elegant and luxurious. It has a rich pallu with lines and floral motifs. Accessorise this beauty with jewelry and heels for a holistic look.
Kantha embroidery is not just creating designs with multicolored threads. It is a tradition that has travelled to reach where it is today. It is the pride of Bengal and our country's rich heritage. And lastly, it is a craft form to give an extraordinary new look along with dedication and creativeness by the artisans from Bengal.
To conclude, if you like embroidery, love a clean finish, and have an inclination towards nature inspired designs, Kantha work Products should be your top choice. The price of the products depends on the quality of fabric and the extent of embroidery. Any Kantha product will last for years and is a great gift for generations to come.
To explore our collection head to https://phulari.com/search?q=kantha&options%5Bprefix%5D=last. And if you want to make something for you, just get in touch with Team Phulari. Support local artisans and help us in keeping the Kantha Legacy alive.