Nepali Times Asian Paints
Handicraft
Weaving a livelihood


TEXT and PICTURES by CHONG ZI LIANG


Tara Maharjan works with precision and speed, weaving a straw mat. Sukul weaving is a traditional skill passed down through generations, but the Maharjans are now producing straw products commercially.
A few strands of straw probably mean nothing to the average man on the street, but Ramchandra Maharjan weaves wonders with them. His deft hands thread the straw through lines of straw rope, quickly binding them together. With machine-like speed and precision, intricate knots eventually form and adorn the mat.

Villagers in Siddipur in Lalitpur have been weaving straw mats for household use for as long as anyone can remember. Maharjan's family has also been weaving mats, but he was the first to go commercial.

Setting up the Thasi Resource Mobilisation Centre five years ago, the villagers started selling the mats in the city. Maharjan is a French instructor in the French National School in Maharajgunj and coaches fellow-villagers in the skill of straw weaving.

"Weaving straw is a traditional skill that is passed on to us, but now we are making a little money out of it," says Maharjan.

Since the market for straw mats is not big, the centre produces other straw items like doormats, penholders, shoes, coasters and backrests, to name a few.

Although the centre promotes tradition by making it profitable, there have been subtle changes to the weaving methods. The coarse straw is now treated to make it softer and coloured to make it more attractive.

Maharjan says some city folks are reverting back to traditional straw mats from carpets. The centre gets orders mostly from resorts and hotels. "Straw mats condition room temperature automatically," he says. One can even put a straw mat on the bed, a common practice in the village.

Villager Nawaraj Diyali says: "Siddipur has now a new claim to fame?our quality straw mats."

The head of the family, Ramchandra Maharjan, inspects the straw used to produce straw furnishings available on order. The straw comes from corn crops and is treated for softness and then coloured.

Measurements are noted on a chalk board for the different products made by the Thasi Recourse Mobilisation Centre. The template promotes efficiency and allows the five workers in the centre a standard to follow.

Measurements are noted on a chalk board for the different products made by the Thasi Recourse Mobilisation Centre. The template promotes efficiency and allows the five workers in the centre a standard to follow.

Sukuls are now increasingly used in homes in place of carpets. Maharjan says he is receiving many orders from resorts and hotels as well.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


ADVERTISEMENT









himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT