When I heard of a workshop on the Quilts of Goa, I had to attend. I’m not a quilter myself, but the idea of patching together little pieces of cloth lovingly by hand is magical to me. The recycling of old saris/fabric has long appealed to me. Giving old cloth a new lease of life in the form of quilts, cushion covers or even jewellery is such a wonderful thing to do.
The workshop was held at Goa College of Home Science, a bustling college that I hadn’t been to yet. As I entered the room, I was greeted by a display of quilts tacked up against the windows. This one, in particular, reminded me of stained glass. It was made by a 97-year old woman who still hand-stitches the traditional Godhadi (quilts). She was going to be felicitated in the afternoon, but I couldn’t stay for that session.
Look at the colours!
This one was machine stitched and is charming in its own way.
I loved the light filtering through this one.
The ‘frock’ pattern is popular. This is a mini-quilt, which is quite common in Goa. Pregnant women stitch these for their newborns and you’ll find a variety of patterns from animals, religious symbols to local Goan iconography.
Patrick Finn is a researcher who has been documenting the quilts of India for the last five years. Now based in Goa, he showed us some of the quilts from around the country. This is an exquisite one from Bengal. The stitching is identical on both sides – my mind just boggled as I tried to figure out how it was done. It is such fine work that you cannot see the beginnings and ends. Knots are barely visible – magnificent.
Textile designer Poonam Pandit is also based in Goa and now documenting the quilts of Goa. She hopes to work with these women to help them with quality control and make it a more sustainable, thriving industry.
This hand-stitched choli has patterns on the back and sleeves. It took the maker 15 days to do this. I loved the autumnal colours – shades of rust and brown and white.
Coming up next: How to stitch a Godhadi Quilt.