Crafting better bamboo and cane products

15 weavers were trained to use tools to produce polished traditional crafts That bamboo and cane products are limited to institutional basics and local techniques could be the reason behind their decline in usage. To help develop and diversify their usage for a more modern society, a team from the national institute of design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India, are in the country to give expert methodologies to Bhutanese craftsmen.

The three-team members completed a two-week workshop on development and diversification for cane and bamboo products in Zhemgang on November 26 for some 15 craftsmen and women from Zhemgang and Mongar. “Traditional products are slowly losing their usage like the bangchung, which was used as plates before but not anymore,” agency for promotion of indigenous crafts (APIC) chief executive officer Lam Kezang Chhoephel said. “This training is aimed at teaching them to mix and modify traditional craft into making products that can be used in modern homes.”

Trainees learnt techniques like moulding and use of tools like drilling machine, sand paper, saw, hammer, pliers among others. “Their learning skills are confined to the institute they are at and there is no space for innovation,” one of the NID trainers Amresh Panigrahi said. “This training was meant to pull them out of their comfort zone and bring out creativity to their traditional crafts.”

NID team said men were comfortable in using the tools  though women were reluctant at first. A team member said Bhutanese craftsmen were used to hand weaving and carving, which was time consuming. “Use of tools will not only ease and quicken their work, but products are more polished and their finishing better,” Amresh Panigrahi said.

During their training, men and women were taught about the use of mould in bringing better shape to the products, analysing dimensions, and use of touchwood liquid to protect the outer texture of cane and bamboo products. They also learnt about manipulation of materials like making designs on bamboo mats with textile patterns.

“I learnt new techniques for weaving that can help me work as an independent weaver later,” one of the trainees from Zhemgang, Yeshey Lhamo, in a telephone conversation, said. However, due to certain reason, the trainees were not able to attend the exhibition. Work made by the trainees were exhibited yesterday at the Nehru-Wangchuck centre, which comprise of table lamps, handmade books, textile, bottle holder and more, which will continue today.

The Nu 1M workshop was organised by APIC and funded by United Nations Development Programme. The team was invited under the memorandum of understanding APIC signed with NID.

Courtesy: Kuensel