Calcutta: Traditional Craft

Courtesy Kanishka’s

Bengali villagers have long made the textile called kantha, originally using silk threads from worn saris to embroider figurative designs (birds, fish, dancers) into layers of cotton. In recent decades the craft has been reinvented with quality materials and contemporary patterns. Kanishka’s (2/1 Hindusthan Rd.; gallerykanishkas.com ) has some of the finest, plus printed and dyed pieces; Shamlu Dudeja sells stunning kantha from her home through her NGO Self Help Enterprises (4/1 Alipore Park Rd.; sheindia.org); and the Crafts Council of West Bengal’s Artisana (13 Chowringhee Terr.; craftsbengal.com ) stocks beautiful older kantha as well as a jumble of traditional weaves and objects.