Kanthakarma

Ethical, Sustainable Artisan-Made Kantha, Gifts & Decor

United Kingdom
| 190 Sales | 5 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars

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Announcement    Welcome to Kantha Karma, home to carefully chosen, one of a kind kantha.

We are a storytelling of textiles, love for Mother Earth and women empowerment. All Kantha Karma products are 100% handmade, embracing fairly traded practices through our artisan partnerships.

We work with women’s cooperatives, social enterprises and artisans in Bangladesh, to handcraft upcycled kantha blankets, which tread lightly on our planet. Our products are non-toxic, sustainable and fair-trade.

All of our beautiful kantha products are handmade by the amazing women artisans of social enterprise ‘Basha’ and NGO ‘The Centre for Development & Peace’, which provide a sustainable livelihood for women at risk and survivors of sex trafficking, allowing them to create better lives for themselves and the futures of their daughters.

All of our pieces are meticulously handcrafted from upcycled, vintage saris, which means no new dyes or inks and no by-products of production, creating something that is always unique.

Kantha Karma is a small business trying to be better and passionately committed to positive change and it never goes unappreciated that you choose us. Thank you so much for visiting Kantha Karma! ❤️

Announcement

Last updated on Jul 27, 2021

Welcome to Kantha Karma, home to carefully chosen, one of a kind kantha.

We are a storytelling of textiles, love for Mother Earth and women empowerment. All Kantha Karma products are 100% handmade, embracing fairly traded practices through our artisan partnerships.

We work with women’s cooperatives, social enterprises and artisans in Bangladesh, to handcraft upcycled kantha blankets, which tread lightly on our planet. Our products are non-toxic, sustainable and fair-trade.

All of our beautiful kantha products are handmade by the amazing women artisans of social enterprise ‘Basha’ and NGO ‘The Centre for Development & Peace’, which provide a sustainable livelihood for women at risk and survivors of sex trafficking, allowing them to create better lives for themselves and the futures of their daughters.

All of our pieces are meticulously handcrafted from upcycled, vintage saris, which means no new dyes or inks and no by-products of production, creating something that is always unique.

Kantha Karma is a small business trying to be better and passionately committed to positive change and it never goes unappreciated that you choose us. Thank you so much for visiting Kantha Karma! ❤️

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Melissa

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Melissa

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About Kanthakarma

Sales 190
On Etsy since 2019

It begins with a stitch, and ends with a story.

Welcome to Kantha Karma, a small, sustainable business with a conscience and a big heart.

My name is Melissa and my curiosity to know where, how and by whom my textiles were made drove me to start this little shop.

Having a deep love for travel, I have spent countless hours wandering through markets around the globe, admiring the beauty of handmade and vintage textiles. I first stumbled upon kantha in Calcutta and it was love at first sight. Kantha refers to the type of stitch used in the craft of this specific type of embroidery, where old sari is mixed and layered and stitched together, creating a vintage quilt. This specific stitch gives the quilts a textured, wavy, quality, with each quilt being unique and having its own story.

I'm hooked on them. It may be the assortment of fabric on each quilt that draws me in; the intricate stitching or its unique imperfections. I fall in love with each one for a new reason. How one side has emerald green floral print with a vibrant patch of burnt orange paisley, and the other has a bold geometric print.

I work with women cooperatives, social enterprises and artisans in Bangladesh, to handcraft upcycled kantha blankets, which tread lightly on our planet. Our products are non-toxic and sustainable. I work only with fair trade organizations that put artisans first.

My production partners, social enterprise ‘Basha’ and NGO ‘The Centre for Development & Peace’, support women in need in Bangladesh; women at risk and survivors of sex trafficking, by providing them with dignified work and a chance to create a safer future. Artisans are given a fair wage to provide for themselves and their family, an education and their children are cared for in safe environments. Your purchase changes lives, builds futures and makes a difference in women’s lives around the world.

At Kantha Karma HQ we care about our use of resources and energy. Our HQ is based on an emerald green narrowboat, Witch Hazel, utilising electricity sourced from solar power and carrying our own water supply. Living onboard, we are constantly reminded of our limited supplies of water, fuel, and gas and so use them sparingly and consciously.

Our mission is to provide fairly paid, sustainable jobs to marginalised women, promote slow fashion, and live and breathe a low impact life that cares for our beautiful planet.

Welcome and thank you for visiting!
Melissa x

Shop members

  • Melissa

    Owner, Curator

    Enamoured with gorgeous textiles from faraway places and foreign cultures and the stories behind them. Love travelling the inland waterways of the UK on our narrowboat Witch Hazel with my motley crew.

  • Huckleberry & Willow

    Supervisor/Model

    Huckleberry and Willow supervise all shop activities and provide occasional modelling services.

Production partners

  • Basha

    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Basha is a social enterprise that helps victims of sex trafficking in Bangladesh leave the streets and build a new life making kantha quilts from recycled saris. As beautiful products emerge from discarded cloth, broken lives are made whole, stitch by stitch.

  • Centre for Development & Peace

    Bangladesh

    Our kanthas are handcrafted by an inspiring women’s cooperative at The Centre for Development and Peace, a Fair Trade NGO in Meherpur, Eastern Bangladesh who help and empower the most vulnerable and and at risk women and children.

  • Fair Trade BAFTS Supplier

    United Kingdom

    BAFTS Supplier, UK

  • Fairtrade Cooperative

    Vietnam

    Our supplier from Vietnam has a deep commitment to traditional craft producers and they aim to help them to revive their culture and improve their livelihoods through handicraft production. They promote sustainable development of the environment, using only renewable materials. In their own words; "

  • Fairtrade Cooperative, India

    India

    We believe the people, skills and the heritage behind each product are just as beautiful as the product itself. Our Fairtrade artisans work in family groups or small co-operatives, in rural areas or small towns, and are highly skilled in their craft.

  • Satya Incense

    India

    Producers of hand rolled, masala based incense crafted from natural ingredient. Fairtrade, vegan and non-toxic.

  • Silver Supplier

    United Kingdom

    Silver supplier, Silver earring maker

  • Supplier of handmade incense, United Kingdom

    United Kingdom

    Supplies all of our handmade incense

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on May 20, 2022
Frequently asked questions
Returns and exchange details

I want you to be delighted with your purchase, so items can be returned within 14 days of delivery. You will get a full refund if the item is undamaged and unused.
Please note I cannot refund shipping costs and you will need to cover the costs of returning the item back to me.

Shipping

Items are shipped from the UK. I ship all small parcels via recorded delivery and you will receive a tracking number with your shipping notification. Shipping rates are based on weight and whilst postal rates are reasonable below 2kg, heavier kanthas above 2kg are unfortunately more expensive to send.

Orders are shipped within 1 - 3 days (business days are Monday - Friday), unless stated otherwise but if you are in a rush to receive your item do please let me know and I will do my best to ship as soon as I can.

Estimated shipping times are as follows:

UK: 1 - 3 working days
Europe: 3 - 5 working days
USA, Australia and New Zealand: 5 - 7 working days

Please bear in mind that, sometimes, it takes a package a little longer to arrive!

What is Kantha?

Kantha (meaning “patched cloth”) refers to both the tradition of producing these unique, quilted blankets as well as the craft and stitch itself (a small, straight running stitch in Bengali embroidery).

For as many as 500 centuries, Bengali women have taken their worn out textiles and re-purposed them. Far from trend-setting, or even artfulness, kantha was constructed originally for the most basic and practical practical purpose: to keep warm.

Over time, kantha developed as a generational skill, a craft that could symbolically impart story, desire, and well-wishing for loved ones. Elaborate kantha were made as wedding gifts or gifts for mothers with stories and wishes weaved in, allowing illiterate women to leave a lasting mark.

Our Philosophy

At the core of everything we do at Kantha Karma is a strong respect for the people we work with and the environment we work within, Mother Nature.

- FAIR TRADE
By paying a fair wage, we ensure quality craftsmanship, improve economic well-being and build a brighter future.

- MADE SUSTAINABLY
We value the environment and promote sustainable practices through our choice of materials and supply chain.

- HANDMADE
We are proud to be part of the slow fashion movement.

- PROTECT ANIMALS
As vegans, we only use cruelty free resources. We strive to be 100% vegan and are currently phasing out our silk line (crafted from reclaimed silk discarded as dead stock).

- PLASTIC FREE
We are currently phasing out our old packaging and becoming plastic free

Quilt sizes

All of our kantha blankets are made from reclaimed saris, so the sizing is determined by the size of the original sari:

- Standard kantha throws are made from half the size of a sari: approximately 3.3ft x 6.6ft (1m x 2m). They are narrower and longer than many typical throws.

- Double kantha throws are made from one full sari on each side: approximately 6.6 ft x 6.6 ft (2m x 2m). They are square sized, and slightly smaller than a full/double bedding size (but could be used as such).

- Kantha small blankets (baby quilts) are half the length of a throw and a quarter of the size of a large throw. They are square sized, approx. 3.3ft x 3.3ft (1m x 1m).

Washing our blankets

Because of it’s hand-stitched design we recommend a gentle (cold), or hand wash. Our cotton kantha quilts will not warp or change with gentle washing, nor the low heat of a tumble dryer. No need for ironing, it just adds to the snuggly nature of it.

For silk blend throws, dry cleaning is recommended.

Who makes the blankets?

We work only with fair trade organizations that put artisans first. Our production partners support women in need in Bangladesh; women at risk and survivors of sex trafficking, by providing them with dignified work and a chance to create a safer future.

All of our beautiful kantha products are handmade by the amazing women artisans of social enterprise ‘Basha’ and NGO ‘The Centre for Development & Peace’, which provide a sustainable livelihood for women artisans, allowing them to create better lives for themselves and the futures of their daughters.

Gift wrapping and packaging

There's nothing wrong with a bit of recycling!
I deeply care about the environment and use biodegradable and recyclable products to pack orders where possible. I also re-use cardboard boxes and packaging, so if your order arrives in a box that looks like it has had a previous life, well it probably has!