About the Class

Irene Blanck

Class Code: IBSU06


KAWANDIs are quilts made by the Siddi people. This is so dear to my heart
because the Siddi people come from Karnataka which is the same state in India
that my father grew up in and they speak the same language as my parents. I
have done a DNA test and seem to have some African heritage as well. As you
may know, the Siddi were brought from Africa by the Portuguese and Spanish to
work as slaves many many years ago and were then left in India to form their own
remote communities.

The KAWANDI is done very differently to our modern day quilting. There is really
not much preparation. All the sewing/quilting is done “in the moment”. The
Siddi are extremely impoverished – they do not own the implements that we use
in the preparation of our quilts. Fabric is torn…width of fabric is measured either
with three fingers width or four fingers width…. No pins or glues are used. The
piece is quilted from the outside and worked in concentric squares towards the

This will be a one day class in which students will work on a 20 inch square of
background fabric. We will also discuss the lives of the Siddi and how they have
tried to assimilate into the Indian culture.