KALPETTA: The dry flowers are stunning. And they add colour and fragrance to the lives of a small group of women in the hilly village of Nellimalam, near Thrikkaippatta, in Wayanad.
Dry leaves, flowers and seeds, usually discarded as waste, help these women make ends meet.
They make use of dry bamboo flowers, wild grasses, plantain fibres, sunflower seeds and even weeds. Their craftsmanship transforms these into stunning bunches of flowers, bouquets, flower vases and mats.
“We use the easily available materials in our locality as raw materials to make dry flowers,” Susan Isaac, president of the Fathima Matha Kudumbasree unit, says. “The easily available dry bamboo flowers are used as filling flowers in a bouquet; the only material we purchase is wood to craft flowers in the flower pot.”
The abundant availability of bamboo flowers in this locality has become a great boon for them. Three years ago, Ms. Isaac and 10 of her friends started the dry flower unit, though they did not have any training in the craft. This is the only one flower unit in this district.
There is great demand for our products in the market, Ms. Isaac says.
They sell their products through exhibitions in cities such as Bangalore, New Delhi, Chennai and Kochi. At the beginning of the tourist season, they open stalls at main tourist destinations in the district.
The price of a bouquet varies from Rs.25 to Rs.2,500. Uravu, an indigenous science and technology study centre at Thrikkaippata, helps them find markets and sell their articles at various exhibitions. Each member gets more than Rs.1,000 a month for their work, Ms. Isaac says.