Over the past few weeks I have finished three small kantha pieces that have confirmed my belief in the joy and efficacy of this ancient Bengali craft and art form. At the moment I am tension-quilting a large work and my fingers, wrists and neck are protesting that I am putting them under too much strain. This is not the case with kantha stitching. It is gentler on the body and mind as it is easier to stitch through layers of soft, well-washed, old cloth. And there is something mesmerising about making rows of straight stitches form patterns.
This piece was finished before the month had ended. The hare’s head is fabricated from the kantha stitch called “bricking”, and the body from the “stepping” stitch. Meanwhile April is marching onward and I have not yet come up with an idea for this month’s sampler. I have been pleasantly distracted by the TextileArtist.org Community Stitch Challenge and was particularly entranced by Cas Holmes’ video tutorial on making a collage with fabric, paper, and stitch as a background for a well-loved familiar object. The tutorial on Facebook was accompanied by a clear workbook with instructions and images of some of Cas Holmes’ work. It was impossible for me not to be inspired and this is what I made.
The black and white fabrics are the scraps from the very large quilt I am currently wrestling with. (Apologies for the repetition — I said that in different words in the first paragraph!) The flowers are from an old calendar with beautiful photographs from Manet’s garden. I stuck down the cut out flowers with fabric glue and then lightly machine stitched over the bouquet (just in case the glue wears out). And the tablecloth is created from the kantha stitch called “blocking”.
And last, but not least, I have finished the project I was struggling with at the beginning of the year. Here it is.
The piece is mostly kantha stitched, with applique. Laura Bruno-Lilly, look what happened to your gold reproduction fabric. I could not resist cutting out and using all the embossed leaves in that scrap of gold cloth. There were more roses, which I am keeping until they tell me how to use them. I wrote about this piece at length previously, so suffice to say here that the solid parts of the flower are not really solid at all, but are stuck-together bits of thread.
For those of us that observe Easter, it is going to be a strange and quiet weekend. This will be the first time we will not be Hogsback at this time as we are not allowed to travel. I plan to do some more kantha stitching to quiet my mind.