Learn the art of Illustrative Kantha Embroidery in this new masterclass with Ekta. Kantha are stitched & quilted textiles from the Indian subcontinent whose ethos are rooted in sustainability, storytelling and mindfulness. Discarded fabrics are layered, embroidered and repurposed into textiles for function or display using stitches. The lotus and other floral forms, tree of life, paisleys, scenes from daily life are significant motifs in Illustrative kantha. Motifs often represent local flora, while others symbolise abundance, folk deities, mythological stories and the cosmos. 6 hours of live tuition and a carefully curated material pack is included. All levels welcome, including beginners.
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Illustrative Kantha Embroidery | Live Masterclass on Zoom
Venue Live on Zoom. Recordings will be available for 4 weeks after the class.
Date 29-30 November 2023
Timing 4-7 pm GMT or 9-12 am PT or 12am-3 pm ET. Check your local time here .
All levels welcome, including beginners.
In this first part of this new kantha series learn the art of illustrative embroidery inspired by Kantha tradition. Kantha are stitched & quilted textiles from the Indian subcontinent whose ethos are rooted in sustainability, storytelling and mindfulness. Discarded fabrics are layered, embroidered and repurposed into textiles for function or display using stitches. The illustrative style is marked by figurative designs based on themes drawn from everyday life and include botanical, animal and human figures. You will learn stitches used in illustrative kantha and make your own kantha design
Session 1 | 29 November
In this richly illustrated and interactive session, we will begin with understanding what kantha is, its cultural significance, its ethos, vocabulary of stitches and motifs looking at examples of Illustrative Kantha that I have chosen from personal and museum collections in India, US and UK. I will share insights I have gained from my years of research into kantha travelling in Bengal as well as museums across India. You will learn a range of traditional kantha stitches including outline and filling in stitches to create motifs and patterns through step by step demonstrations. You will learn about the structure and construction of kantha. I will show you how to easily develop design ideas taking inspiration from traditional forms and how to transfer your designs onto fabric. You will then proceed to embroider your designs.
Session 2 | 30 November
You will learn the characteristic kantha quilting stitch which gives the fabric a rippled appearance. I will also show you finishing techniques and share display ideas. You will leave with skills to complete your kantha stitched art. The outcome may be a wall piece or a panel that can be used in other projects. There will be plenty of time for Q&A.
A pdf of techniques and design ideas will be shared with you.
A materials pack including fabric, needles and threads will be sent to you. You may also include your own preloved fabrics or garments. Shipping for the material pack will be calculated at checkout.
Where will the course take place
This masterclass will be held live on Zoom. A link to the class will be sent to you a few days before. The number of participants is restricted to a small group to ensure all students have ample time to get individual feedback, discuss ideas. You will need access to a laptop/tablet with a camera and microphone.
About your tutor Ekta Kaul
Ekta is an established artist known for her narrative maps that explore place, history and belonging through stitch. Ekta’s work is held in several public and private collections including the Crafts Council’s , Museum of London and Gunnersbury Museum’s permanent collections. Ekta loves to share her skills and 14 years’ worth of experience as being a practising artist. Ekta has been invited to teach masterclasses at museums including Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Kettles Yard (Cambridge), Leighton House Museum (London) amongst others.
Appreciative words from happy students
“Thank you for a brilliant course on Kantha stitch. So pleased to have my hands working cloth again! And to revisit my archive of prints and conjure up a whole new world of ideas… My fave thing was the chats with the other women from all around the world and all the new artists you introduced us to.”
Prof Rebecca Earley, London UK
“Getting up at 4am to learn Kantha Embroidery from Ekta and joining women spread across 3 continents was a highlight. Thank you for a great class.”
Nathalie Smith, Colorado, USA
"The focus on creating for the joy of it and embracing imperfection. Ekta is a wonderful inspiring artist and teacher.” Monique Tricot, Devon, UK
"What a wonderful experience- to share stories of place and belonging while learning from Ekta. It was a fantastic day! Your work is inspirational."
"I so enjoyed the course – it was really well structured and delivered in a way that was supportive, encouraged confidence and crucially – was hugely inspiring. I went home, my head buzzing with ideas and have already managed to carve out some time to do some hand stitching embellishment (place names) and dust off my sewing machine – just to be check that I could do free embroidery – ( I can)! You are a very talented artist and a great communicator. Thank you."
"What a lovely day spent in the beautiful studio of Ekta Kaul, learning to embroider maps under her encouraging guidance. Privileged to spend time under the tutelage of an experienced and passionate artist."
"I have wanted to learn more about free machine embroidery for a while. When I saw the workshop advertised on Ekta’s website I decided that I should have a go! Ekta’s work is very creative and of a very high standard (I bought one of her scarves last year!) I had seen some of her quilts at Art in Action and thought I could learn a lot from her. I wasn’t disappointed! Ekta is a very encouraging, enabling and skilful teacher. She is very patient and has a real sense of fun. I enjoyed the workshop tremendously, learnt lots of new skills and came away having started a piece of work that I now have the confidence and skills to complete!"
"I thoroughly enjoyed the course with Ekta, renewing my interest in sewing, yet doing something I had never done before ie machine embroidery. I decided to come to Ekta’s workshop because I so liked what she made for the Christmas Fair and I wanted to learn her techniques. I am close to retirement and am looking to spend time doing something creative, making items that are unique, attractive and useful and can be given as presents. I am so inspired I am now bidding on e-bay for a Bernina sewing machine!"
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