Friday, May 7, 2010
Working with Grass
Last week i was conducting a natural fibre workshop with traditional craftspeople from Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The workshop was organised by Dastkar as an attempt to provide new product development to these groups in order to enhance sales.
Basketry is a time consuming craft, so we could only introduce some new ideas which the craftspeople will take forward in their own time before they return for a follow up workshop.
Sikki grass basketry is done by women from Bihar. This form of basketry is whimsical with figurative forms like animals, birds and lots of gods. I took flowers as my theme worked with forms adding beads and cowries. These could be adapted into making a brooch or a ring. The cat is a box is a cat!
Sabai grass and date palm leaves are abundant in Orissa and are used to make rope and plaits which are further converted into baskets or covering furniture. Enthusiastic and perky Nirupama was a great to work with. She had come with her brother and three year old daughter Titli. Titli was a very talkative and playful child but not once did I feel that she came in the way of her mother’s work. They came from Baliapal in Orissa. Their organisation RAHWA provides livelihood opportunities to rural women in the area.
I wanted to introduce a free flowing, random pattern in their work which resulted in the crazy curves basket and the flower bag.