Score a cosy traditional quilt and meet people advocating them
Unlike the currently trending buzz about sustainability and recycling, India has had traditions in this direction since the Indus Valley civilisation, where clothes were reused and recycled. One such practice is quilting, where women would layer clothing no longer in use, and stitch through all of them to make soft bedcover that kept them warm. The upcoming India Quilt Festival 2023, being held in Chennai from January 20-23, is a platform for craftsmen of modern, contemporary and traditional styles to showcase their skill and pass it on. But since Chennai is too far away, here are some places you can buy a readymade one.
Godhadi of Maharashtra
Godhadi is a traditional Maharashtrian quilt made by reusing sarees where they are cut into strips or patches, and sewn together in a running stitch. The outer pattern is the creation of the quilter who takes into account the various colours and motifs, thus no two are alike. Usually, three to four layers are stitched using only one length of thread. Mother Quilts is a group of homemakers from Pune who make godhadis. The godhadis are as low as R800 onwards.
Kavand quilts are specifiCally made by the Afro-Indian Siddis community of north Karnataka, who adapted a form practised by the oppressed castes of the region. Kavand quilts are special for the number of layers—they can start at three and go up to 15. The design is not pre-meditated and comes together as artisans start quilting from the edges of all sides and move towards the centre. The artisans are so skilled that they self-measure the design on the go, and mirror it on all four sides. Anitha N, who works for the upliftment of the Siddi community, helps source kavands. A baby quilt starts from R6,500 and a single one goes up to Rs 11,500.
Sujani from Bharuch
Sujani originated in Bharuch, and is passed down generations. The entire quilt is made on the loom without any additional handstitching. Two weavers sit at either ends of a loom, and a shuttle of two colours is put in the warp threads to turn the warp and the weft. Varied geometrical patterns in vibrant colours form the top layer and it is stuffed with cotton squares. Their quilts cost between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000
From the borders of Sindh
Rallis originates from Sindh province (now Pakistan) and is still practised on the borders of Kutch. It has spread across Rajasthan and Gujarat, extending all the way to western Haryana. This quilt has high cultural value in the Kutchi community, as tradition prescribed 21 of these must form a part of the bride’s dowry. The quilts start from Rs 2,000.
Call: 94272 01093
Ledra from Jharkand
Ledra quilts are made by tribal communities from Hazaribagh, a town in Jharkhand. Its motifs are inspired by traditional Sohrai and Khovar paintings generally found on the walls of homes, and usually comprise animals, birds and flowers. Ledra is typiCally made in the languorous summer months, and gifted to newborns or expecting mothers in the winters. Usually, grandmothers or matriarchs of the household make it for women in their bloodline. With it becoming a market commodity, they are made throughout the year. Justin Imam, founder of Visrat foundation, that works for the protection of tribal art in Jharkhand, is the man to source ledra from. Quilts start anywhere above Rs 3,000.