Kantha Embroidery: We speak so much nowadays of recycling and upcycling as a means of repairing what we have done to the environment and our ecology through thoughtless consumption. But in several cultures, and particularly Japan and India, upcycling has existed historically.
Japan, of course, has her Sashiko and Boro. And India has Kantha. I recall when my son was born, our Bengali help embroidered his first nappies using soft used cloth and beautiful Kantha, something I still treasure.
With the arrival of the British East India Company in India and their overlordship on the cotton manufacturing (among other things) on the Indian Subcontinent, the ever so romantic and prosperous Story of cotton and cotton farmers that I discussed in my earlier post came to an erratic end.
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I will talk more about the India story at the end of this article. Let us first look at the Story of cotton in America. (more…)