Teaching youth the traditional craft

S.Sundaramohan from IIT-Bombay trains school students on basket weaving at a bamboo workshop in Chennai on Thursday. Photo: R.Shivaji Rao  

Srinidhi Sundar twists two bamboo strips into loops and ties them with a shred of bamboo fibre. As the 14-year-old completes weaving a dozen similar strips into a circular base, the artisan sitting next to her gives an appreciative nod.

The circular base will shape into a utility basket on the second day of the three-day ‘Bamboo Workshop,' which got under way at the Government Museum here on Thursday. The student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Anna Nagar, has already completed making a folk percussion instrument and two flower vases, and looks forward to make “huge picnic baskets” on Friday.

The workshop, being jointly organised by the Government Museum and Art and Architecture Research Development Education (AARDE) Foundation, will train 45 such students in the traditional bamboo crafts of Tamil Nadu.

“We want the students to appreciate our traditional crafts that are fast disappearing,” says Xavier Benedict, a trustee of AARDE Foundation.

The Foundation, which has set up two museums in Pulicat and Sadras, has invited artisans from those areas to teach the students the art of bamboo weaving. S. Sundaramohan from Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay was of the trainers at the workshop.

While most of the participants were nominated by their schools, a few parents like Sujatha brought their children out of own interest. “My daughter is very adept at crafts and loves learning new things,” she says. Her daughter Varsha Ithakshi, a student of Kendriya Vidyalaya – II, Tambaram, was busy filing bamboo fibres into smooth strips.

S.Perumal, one of the four artisans, finds it surprising to see youngsters mastering the crafts in a short span of time.

“Processing the bamboo into strips is the toughest and most expensive part. We end up paying a lot to the labour but the business is unpredictable. Such workshops are a better way to popularise the products among consumers,” he says.

On the final day, the students will be taken to Sadras, where each of them will make a bamboo replica of the Sadras Fort. Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Museums T.S.Sridhar inaugurated the workshop.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 12:45:30 PM |

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