Monday, September 20, 2010

Hand and Cloth


Remember I posted about the Indian quilts from the current Sundance Catalog?  I’ve since been alerted to a wonderful organization called “Hand and Cloth”.  I’m so excited to feature their work here.   I hope you’ll visit them and show your support for their beautiful ministry.  The following is all taken from their website:


The story of the sari blanket begins with the sari vendors. Kitchenware peddlers by day, they travel to rich women's homes and trade cooking pots and spoons for old saris. At night the kitchenware peddlers become sari vendors.


And these are their children. The one in front wants my camera.


Sari vendors: geniuses who knew that old cloth would become a commodity.handandcloth5

Sari hunters: consumers with a fascination for recycled sari material.


The sari blanket: two recycled saris sewn together by a kantha stitch, traditionally the poor woman's craft.


Every mother teaches her daughter the kantha stitch, and how to make her stitches small and straight. 


Every little girl, in turn, becomes a mother and makes sari blankets for her daughters. Sari blankets are a necessity to keep her children warm.


No mothers teach their daughters to sell their bodies.

But many young girls in Kolkata, India grow up to "work the line." Some are victims of sex-trafficking. Others choose this life because they think they don't have any other options.


Koral worked the line in the red light district of Dumdum. She wanted to change her life so that her daughter "wouldn't grow up to have the same job." She always knew how to make beautiful kantha stitches, she just didn't know someone would pay her for doing so. She hopes her daughter will never have to sell her body.
This picture is used with Koral's permission.


Tapti's mother was a prostituted woman. Tapti grew up in the red light district. Crippled from birth, she was deemed as of "low value" in the commodity of the sex-trade. Tapti was placed in the Swadhar Project, a rehabilitation home for at-risk girls. Sarah met Tapti at the Swadhar Project. That's where they began sewing together.


Tapti likes to sing while she sews.


And this is Pushpa. She likes to practice her English while she sews.


"When we sew together, we talk together, and we think that pieces of our stories are sewn into our blankets. We stitch many stories into our blankets, that's why our kantha stitches are so many! We hope that those who use our blankets add their own stories to ours, because the more stories we add to our blankets, the tighter our stitches become!"


"You hem me in behind and before. You have laid your hand upon me."
Psalm 139


Blankets handmade by women.
Women handmade by God.


To purchase a quilt by Hand and Cloth, or to make a donation, click here.


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