The ancient tradition of quilting and patchwork art has regional variants around the world, and India is no exception. Many of these traditions are still practiced across the country and have their own recognisable styles and techniques.
Our first exploration took place in Kutch, Gujarat where we collaborated with artisans from the Meghwal and Rabari communities. We wanted to experiment with making quilts that were loosely based on on the traditional patchwork quilt from the region, known as Gudri or Ralli, but also incorporate our own minimalist aesthetic. The cotton fabric was first hand dyed or block printed with natural vegetable dyes – in keeping with tradition – and then assembled and hand embroidered with a running stitch by skilled women artisans working in their homes.
We were eager to experiment with other quilting methods and styles from different regions. We have long admired Kantha embroidery from West Bengal which is one of the most recognisable textile arts in Eastern India. This style of embroidery was traditionally practiced by rural women and was a way of recycling old saris or dhotis into something new, beautiful and utilitarian. The process involves layering old pieces of cloth and embroidering them with a distinct counted running-stitch which holds the cloth in place. The embroidered cloth might be made into bedcovers, baby blankets, shawls, pillows or other textile pieces. Sometimes the entire cloth is covered with straight running stitches in parallel lines, in other instances, more elaborate designs of repeating motifs and geometrical shapes are created.
We are particularly drawn to this style of embroidery as it gives the cloth a slightly wrinkled, wavy effect which is especially nice when contrasted with strong geometric lines
For our Kantha Quilts, we teamed up with an NGO in West Bengal which is a livelihood generation programme that strives to provide socio economic empowerment to its members. The NGO works with 1,500 women from 50 villages. As well as helping to provide a livelihood for its members, it also directly supports a local school.
As well as collaborating with artisans from various parts of India, we also make quilts in-house. We have our very own production workshop in Chennai and this is where all the piecing, machine quilting and binding happens. The workshop is run by our talented master tailor, M. Vinodha.
check out our quilts below: