Sunday, September 22, 2013

Discovering Kantha Embroidery

art quilt fish embellishment

What I find intriguing about Kantha work is the use of one simple stitch to create intricate motifs. How easy is that; and, it’s just a straight stitch.

That got me interested so I did a little research.  One quilter I found did a beautiful quilt full of little circles, intricately done but using only the simple Kantha stitch.  I can’t remember where I found here but will have to make work of finding it again.  My little fish is about the size of her circles but not nearly as intricate or as colorful.

The blog I learned the most from was Deepa from India.  This is part of what she had to say about it….

“The art of Kantha (pronounced Kaatha in the north, Kontha in the east, kantha in the south) originated among the rural folks of India and literally means 'rags'. It was a method used to make fresh usable pieces of clothing from old worn out clothes especially saris. Bengalis were especially reluctant to throw away their fine quality muslin and cotton saris.All the old clothes are first cleared off the zips,hooks and buttons and any other embellishments and then piled in layers and stitched.”

Since hand embroidery is something I add to my small art quilts that adorn purses I decided to try it on one of them.  This one is a combination of reverse applique and the Kantha stitch….

art quilt pink green

I like the look so I’m going to have to do a bit more practicing.  Yes, it’s a simple stitch but even is better and mine is anything but even.  I’m not aiming for perfect but I would like it a little more even than I’ve done so far.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How it started and wondering where it's going

This little jam jar is where my journey as an artist started.  I didn't paint it, my mother did.  She gave it to me for Christmas when I was 30.  When I learned that she who didn't think I had the talent required to be an artist painted it I made work of finding someone who could teach me china painting.
 
I spent a couple years painting china with my good friend Joan Potere.  Joan lost a battle with cancer many years ago but back when we were painting together we talked another friend into teaching us oil painting.  China painting was set aside and I was immersed in oil painting for several years.  During that time I also did a bit of pottery and some jewelry, and I was making my own clothes.
It was also during this time that my aunt and I owned and operated a knit shop and I was designing
sweaters, dresses, skirts and a variety of other knit pieces along with a variety of other needlework pieces.
 
Eventually I discovered watercolor and rediscovered drawing for the sake of drawing.  I concentrated on those for many years and still enjoy them.  However, the sewing I abandoned when I decided I didn't like making my own clothes has resurfaced.  I am once again, watching what others are doing, trying new ways of doing things, experimenting with both of my sewing machines and having fun. 
 
I have no idea where all of this is going.  It's been a fun ride so far and I expect the road ahead will be the same.  I'm still painting...
This is a small plein air piece that will be in Grand Haven's ArtWalk.
 
And here are a few new stitched pieces
This one is going to go on a purse
so are the next two

This one is sold, it's an 8" x 8" art quilt
And recently I learned about the art of Kantha.  It originated among the rural folks of India and literally means 'rags'. It was a method used to make fresh usable pieces of clothing from old worn out clothes especially saris. Bengalis were especially reluctant to throw away their fine quality muslin and cotton saris. All the old clothes are first cleared off the zips, hooks and buttons and any other embellishments and then piled in layers and stitched. I love the look so I'm going to be doing some of that next.  Stay tuned.