Kantha is a centuries old tradition of stitching cloth, and one of the very oldest forms of embroidery, which can be traced back to 1500bc. Mainly seen in the East Indian states of West Bengal and Orissa, and in Bangladesh. A very simple embroidery stitch – a running stitch - Kantha refers both to the stitch and the cloth it creates.
Kantha has been used for centuries to mend and “make good” textiles; its ripple effect across the fabric adding strength and making the fabric serviceable again.
This ancient craft was, and still is today, passed down from mother to daughter. It is a skill learnt in childhood by millions of rural women, many of whom are impoverished and live in socially conservative communities, it offers a vehicle for economic self-sufficiency, independence and empowerment.
Nakshi kantha is this same traditional running stitch from Bengal but made up of motifs influenced by religion, culture and the lives of the women stitching them.