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Home sweet home- Isn’t it? This is the only place we seek comfort, after a long hectic day. So it becomes really important to personalize this space as per our taste. Home decor, plays a vital role here. Some prefer to give their home a classic or a royal touch, some think of vintage, where as some opt for modern style. There are numerous items of home décor with which you can create an ambience pleasing your eyes every time you enter your personal space, be it your home or your office. One such option is the items produced using Pine Needle Craft.
It is an age old craft that has supported the livelihoods of the Pahadi people. The needles are the dry leaves obtained by the Pine tree. These needles are then woven into products of daily use by skilled craftsmen. The items so produced by this craft are attractive as well as inexpensive. So let us explore the details of this interesting craft.
Uttarakhand- Our beautiful state has a pine forest cover of about 3.43 lakh hectare, which produces about 20.58 lakh tones of dry biomass (pine needles). This figure is more than sufficient to make the local Pahadi people take up this craft as a profession to support their livelihood. Though this craft is practiced in rural areas like Almora, Pithorgarh, but is predominant in Chamba, a small hill-town in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. Here the craftsmen weave the pine needle into enduring expression of beauty in the form of baskets, wall decors, jewelry etc.
All the hard work that is put in!
The dry or dead pine needles that fall off during the autumn season make the most attractive baskets. They are usually of rich brown color and are hard in texture, which offers both beauty and durability to the items crafted out of it. Other way is to pluck green needles from the limbs and are made to dry in a cool, dark place. The color so obtained is soft green. The needles collected are soaked usually in boiling water to make it pliable so that they can be woven or coiled easily. Mature needles which are dark brown and the young needles which are of lighter shade, when combined to craft a basket achieves a mesmerizing appearance.
After the needles achieve the color and texture, they are woven into artefacts using raffia or manila threads. Some pine needles are wrapped with the sewing material and coiled upon itself, forming a button which is the center of the basket. Now taking more pine needles stitching around the button is continued. The modeling of the basket is done entirely with the fingers as the sewing proceeds. It should be ensured that every stitch should be tightly drawn in order to achieve a finished product.
There are three techniques in which products are made, Weaving, Coiling and Braiding. Coasters and Table mats are made by the Weaving process in which pine needles are woven into cotton yarn. The process of coiling is employed when the craftsmen has to craft coasters, baskets, keychains and jewelry. Whereas the technique of braiding is employed in the making of table mats, glass holders, jewelry and belts. The items have a smooth finishing, if crafted by a skilled craftsman.
There is no doubt that this craft gives products that are beautiful, unique and reasonable. The only problem is that it is not in vogue anymore. Almora in Uttarakhand has almost lost the legacy of this skill. The local craftsmen have adopted other ways of livelihood. In order to save the craft, several organizations have set up training camps, which carry the responsibility to make the people aware of this art and train the locals so that they can support their livelihood. These efforts will not only benefit the people and the state by generating income and boosting the economy, but also contribute in saving the environment since they are biodegradable. I strongly recommend using these beautiful looking products, which find their importance in daily use. Have a look at the images and get tempted to have them. There is a variety of these beautifully crafted items available at bigTokari, where authenticity is assured. So give us an opportunity in making your personal space attractive than ever before by these handcrafted, eco-friendly and affordable items.