Dorothy Tucker and Jenny Bullen PSG :: Surjeet Husain

Kantha: A Collaboration between Practical Study Group Members Jenny Bullen and Dorothy Tucker, and Surjeet Husain

Surjeet Husain’s knowledge of Indian embroidery is informed by her in-depth practical research and visits to India where by chance she found a young girl called Rakha stitching a Kantha at her tea stall not far from the hotel.  Between providing tea for her customers, Rakha very happily taught Surjeet her repertoire.

The word Kantha in Bengali means cloth. Traditionally Kantha are made from the best parts of old worn saris or dhotis.  It is also the name given to a way of stitching in which variations of running stitch are worked though all the layers of cloth, quilting them together and creating intricate designs and textures.

Dorothy, Jenny and Surjeet with the sari

As friends, Dorothy Tucker and Surjeet Husain meet and stitch together regularly, and over the years Dorothy’s enthusiasm for Kantha has been enhanced by seeing the wonderful examples Surjeet has shown her.  Some of the stitches she learnt from Surjeet Dorothy now uses in her own work and teaching.

Jenny Bullen is well known for her love of stitching by hand. When she joined Dorothy and Surjeet on this project, the trio decided to cut and divide a sari between them, and to use it to stitch a Kantha each in their own way.   Over several months of stitching, meeting together and exchanging emails, their creative dialogue turned into a celebration of how pleasure, inspiration and skills can be passed on informally from person to person.

work by Dorothy Tucker, Surjeet Husain and Jenny Bullen in Creative Dialogues

Surjeet, Dorothy and Jenny also invited some of their friends, new to embroidery, to Surjeet’s home to create a little Kantha each.  The conversations or quiet times of concentration shared during these two Sundays of stitching together confirm that creating a Kantha has a lot offer busy women working in the fast track of life today.

previous – Mary Sleigh : : : top : : : next – Linda Tudor