Conch Shell Craft
Conch shell craft is one of the oldest folk crafts of West Bengal. The craftsmen of conch shell products (Shankhari or Sankhakar) belong to the ancient 'Nabasakha' which is one of the so called nine craftsmen communities. The carvings on the conch shell reflect the social, mythological and historical expressions, rendered with the help of the traditional folk knowledge and technology.
The jute fibre is derived from the reed like jute plant. West Bengal, with plenty of rainfall and a humid climate, suits the growth of the jute plant. It is the second most popular natural plant fibre and is available in abundance in the sate.
Kantha, a type of traditional embroidery popular in Bangladesh and West Bengal, originated with Bengali housewives mending and reinforcing old clothes with strands of thread drawn from the colourful borders of old saris and creating simple designs with them. It is a simple running stitch made on the edges. Earlier when five to six layers of the cloth were embroidered together it formed a quilt. Today the embroidered cloth is used as stoles, shawls and sarees. The clothes also find use as covers for mirrors, boxes, pillows etc. The outer layers of the clothes comprises of white or light colored cloth which makes the embroidery perceptible. The entire cloth is covered with running stitches which give it a slight wrinkled wavy effect. The embroidery usually has beautiful folk motifs, floral motifs, animal and bird figures and geometrical shapes. Themes from day to day activities are also a common subject for the embroidery.
Contributed by: Prarthana, CEE Ahmedabad