Sujuni Kantha or The Running Stitch
The Sujuni Kantha was used by women of Bhusura in Bihar to stitch discarded cloth from dhotis and saris into quilts. Embroidered quilts were presented as gifts on festive occasions since the 18th century. Traditionally, the women stitched on religious scenes from Hindu epics. Today, they boldly present visual images of infanticide, dowry deaths and other social ills. Kantha not only provides these women a livelihood, but also gives them an outlet through which they may express themselves.
The four-day Morcrafts workshop, provided an apt forum for the exploration of this traditional craft. An exhibition of exquisite quilts was on display throughout. A similar exhibition had been organised by The Asia Society in New York, the previous year. Archana, one of the weavers, created a stunning quilt portraying images from her visit to the city. This quilt was also on show during the workshop.
At the Morcrafts event, rural women from Bihar had the opportunity to meet urban designers and visual artists in a mutually supportive environment. Participants also profited from a slide show and lecture by Skye Morrison, textile professor at Sheridan College, Toronto, Canada, and visiting professor at the National Institute for Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India.