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Coconut Craft- A Precious Gift from Kerala

A well-known thought highlighted the significance of creative perception of an individual- “Waste is a waste until we perceive it as a waste”. On this note, let us explore about a unique craft- coconut craft which is practised on our motherland. The differentiating fact about this craft lies in the main raw material of this craft-coconut shells. The material which is usually perceived as a scrap gains a valuable form through the excellent craftsmanship of the artisans.

Bowl created through Coconut Craft (Credits- shutterstock.com)

About Coconut Craft

Coconut craft is widely practiced in the regions where coconut can be found in considerable quantity. In South India, coconut remains a prominent part of the society. The crafts associated with it are just an innovative illustration of the creative mindset of the people belonging to that region. It is a quite recent craft form in comparison to the crafts of other regions given its notable popularity in the recent decades.

Raw Coconut (Credits- Pixabay.com)

It is highly popular in Kerala as the evergreen land of Kerala is closely associated with the growing of ample quantity of coconut. It is known for a greater percentage of coconut cultivation across India. It is a producer of about 45 percent of total production of coconuts in India.The major places where this craft is predominant are Calicut, Trivandrum, Attingal, Neyyatinkara and Quilandy.

Large cups created from Coconut Craft(Credits- shutterstock.com)

NOTEWORTHY FEATURES OF COCONUT CRAFT

Following are the noteworthy features of coconut craft-

  • The coconut shellwares are lightweight and easily manageable.
  • The process of creation does not involve the application of any environmentally harmful chemicals.
  • The products contain greater durability.
  • All these items carry a waterproof quality.
  • The whole method of production does not result in any kind of waste and thereby does not lead to any kind of burden on the environment.
An artisan engaged in coconut craft(Credits- shutterstock.com)

A Special Technique

Stretched out coconut shell technique was initiated by Mr. R. Gunatilaka. He commenced the creation of distinctive products using the exquisite coconut craft items. He also utilized his craft in the musical instrument of esraj by adding other aesthetic raw materials as well.

Why Coconut Craft must be your first choice?

In the era where the society has regained enough consciousness about sustainability and the responsibilities of an individual towards the environment, coconut craft must be appreciated and encouraged much more than ever before. The primary characteristics of this craft which are enough for it to be prioritized in the national as well as the global market include the following-

  • The eco friendly nature of the products.
  • It’s biodegradable nature.
  • Marvellous product designs.
  • Aesthetic features of the products.
  • The contemporary nature of the product designs that make them an irresistible choice of the onlookers.
Cute Dolls made with Coconut Craft(Credits-dreamstime.com)

Method of Production

The coconut shellwares are created in the following ways-

  • The very first step is the procurement of neatly dried coconut shells directly from the farmers.
  • After this, the second step is the selection of the appropriate design for the product.
  • Then, the process of scraping the coconut shells is undertaken.
  • The shell then undergoes the cutting in order to complement with the exact shape and size of the design.
  • The entire process of cutting is completed after the designs are also drawn onto the internal part of the shell.
  • Cutting is followed by smoothening the otherwise uneven surface of the coconut shell using the sandpaper.
  • The final step involves the polishing of the item with the beeswax so as to brighten it’s appearance. It is completed by drying the piece under the sunlight.
A Toy produced through Coconut Craft(Credits- dreamstime.com)

The major tools used in the production of coconut craft include the following-

  • Chainsaws– They are very helpful in transforming the hard coconut shells into an alluring shape.
  • Sandpaper– It promotes the process of making the external surface of the shells smoother than its original version.
  • Brush– It is utilized to clean the inner surface of the cotton.
  • Drill– It is primarily used while making key chains or lightening items.
  • Glue– It helps in attaching the multiple parts involved in the creation of these    handicraft products.
  • Knife– The knife is utilized for dividing the shells more efficiently.

The type of shells used in this craft are chosen by the craftsmen themselves as per the required product design.

Coconut Shells(Credits-shutterstock.com)

In order to embellish the external surface of the products more attractively, they are painted with diverse colours.

Colourful Bowls emanating from Coconut Craft(Credits-dreamstime.com)

Behind the Scene Facts

The fragile feature of this craft increases the cost of the preparation as certain coconut shells tend to break in the process.It also has an implication over the selling price of the products. For instance, the market price of a soap case created through coconut craft is around Rs. 150 which is quite expensive in comparison to a soap cases which are created out of other materials. Moreover, the price seems justified if you dig deeper into the actual fact behind such prices i.e the delicate nature of the primary raw material used in this craft.

Glasses made with Coconut Craft(Credits- dreamstime.com)

An Exciting Opportunity for an Hands On Experience

A very exciting aspect about this craft is the fact that you can also engage in the creation of the innovative products at your home by making them yourself. This will not only awaken your dormant artistic capabilities but also let you appreciate the hard work of the artisans involved in creating these magnificent art pieces. You can easily refer to the popular art related websites which share a lot of DIY (Do-it-yourself) ideas for showcasing your innovative products. Although these DIY items include teapot and living room accessories which are simple in nature, they  are enough to satisfy your artistic self. So, what are you waiting for?? Start your journey filled with creativity!!

Handbag made with Coconut Shellware Technique (Credits-dreamstime.com)

The primary product categories resulting out of this craft are- home decor items, fashion accessories and household utility items including various types of cups , bowls and other cutlery items.

Coconut Craft Dippers (Credits- shutterstock.com)

Reasons to Worry

The major reasons behind the limited growth of this craft are as follows-

  • Insufficient awareness about the craft
  • Absence of professional training for the artisans engaged in this craft in order to enhance their creativity
  • Inadequate efforts for the promotion of this craft in the contemporary market
  • Reduced initiatives by the Government to ensure profitable businesses based on this craft for the artisans

The next time you see the coconuts in the market, please do remember that it is not merely a fruit. Its beauty extends beyond that. Do think twice before you underestimate the value of a coconut!!!

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