Colourful patterned sari’s dot the Bangladesh landscape, worn by women helping with the rice cultivation, fetching water, resting in the shade, cooking the family meal, or nurturing children. Once discarded from the wardrobe, the sari’s life has only just begun.
For centuries, Bengali women have painstakingly stitched their time softened sari’s with straight even stitches into items of beauty and homely use. Whether it’s wrapping a newborn or providing warmth on a chilly night, the kantha blanket is a fixture in every Bengali home.
Kantha, meaning “patched cloth,” provides a glimpse into the thrift and artistry of Bengali women.
Spanning generations and multiple variations, the art of stitching together remnants of worn saris is a work of love. During the long afternoons of summer, women gather to pass the time, and amid the laughter and stories, a kantha is born.
These beautiful kantha quilts are handmade by women artisans working with Basha in Bangladesh, a social business which employs women who are survivors or at risk of human trafficking and abuse.
Saris are sourced from a wide variety of locations in Bangladesh, the saris are then carefully colour matched and washed. Hand stitching then begins joining the 6 layers of sari cloth. Every kantha quilt can take up to 5-6 days of work to complete, depending on its size and complexity. Once complete, the item is washed again and ready to be sold.
Each kantha product is unique and often can never be replicated.