The Simple Beauty of Kantha


Vintage Saris Repurposed Into Exuberant Modern Quilts

The idea of repurposing, or upcycling, is not a new concept. Historically, rural peoples could not afford to simply replace a garment or a home good when it developed a hole or a tear; the item was mended or the cloth saved to be reborn as something new. The Japanese call this concept boro; boro means rags or ragged. In Sanskrit, still spoken today in parts of India, there is a different word for rags: kontha or kantha.

Today the word kantha generally refers to the basic running stitch that’s used on items that are made of repurposed fabric. The simple stitch is both functional and decorative—it hold the layers of fabric together but can also be used to create complex designs. When we discovered these beautiful quilts made from vintage cotton saris and sewn together by hand, we knew they were a perfect complement for the other sustainable goods we feature at k2 Studio.

We hand-pick every quilt in our inventory. They are made by female artisans near Calcutta, and all are unique. They vary in size, design, and color, reflecting the spontaneity of the technique—the vintage fabrics are cut and stitched together differently each and every time, based on the materials at hand. Any flaws or stains are understood to be part of the appeal of upcycling a historic piece good. Here is another plus: in Bangladesh, using old cloth is said to keep one safe from harm.

Originally, kantha fabrics were created out of necessity. Today, we can enjoy them for their individual beauty; admire them for the creativity of the artisan; and appreciate the delight that these repurposed works of art bring to the home. Come in to view our kantha quilts: we have a lovely selection in the showroom now.



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