Weaving of baskets in India is an art as old as pottery making. In early times, travelling food gatherers used to weave reeds composed to prepare baskets. Later, changed materials and cultures developed a diversity of basketry for domestic as well as for ritual purposes. In India, people make baskets out of twigs, bamboo, cane and different types of wild grass. Punjab is famous for its sturdy spirally built baskets in which, a wild grass is used for the basic form which is stitched together with the help of various other grass. The paddle baskets of Gop are known for its Intricate designs. Orissa has a tradition of making baskets out of monsoon grass called Moonj and the village is famous for this type of craft.
In this region, tribal community of Gop carries on a tradition of basket making which is quite distinct from sikki baskets. Tharus baskets have a bolder form and are decorated with human and animal figures on it. Kulas are the winnowing baskets of Bengal painted with auspicious symbols. Similarly in south, Mysore is famous for its Cane basketry. Tamil Nadu is famous for the Chettinad baskets. They make intricate patterns with the help of date -palm leaves. These patterns are as fine as embroidery and are the specialty of the Chattiar community of the area. The North-Eastern region of India has the finest examples of cane and bamboo basketry work. In fact one could say that their lives depend on this material. One can very easily see it everywhere in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa and Tripura.
Golden grass craft has finally come of age, and finds a place in the market across the globe.
Golden grass is also known as ‘wild grass’ which is found in many parts of the district and other areas of the state. It grows to a height of about 5-6 feet and the inflorescent stick, which appears after the monsoon, is used for weaving. In the recent past, Golden grass is discovered by the dwellers and weavers as it’s attractive to look. Golden grass product as the products are eco-friendly, biodegradable and reduce the use of plastic.
Over 200 women’s of village Gop have been working out their livelihoods by making golden grass crafts. A new concept of grass jewelry has come from here, where artisans make attractive and designer jewelry along with other accessory items like bags, key chains and other items from the golden grass. The colored golden grass with uniquely –painted petals and bright golden grass hats, flower-pots and other items speak of fine craftsmanship. Today the demand for golden grass crafts has increased and this testifies to their beauty, utility and lasting quality. Beautiful collectibles in golden-grass craft that have been used for house-hold purpose for years by the people of Gop and its nearby areas.
Currently golden craft items are redesigned for the international buyers according to their taste and preference, but not detaching it from the ethnicity. The origin of this craft as it is in the case of other art and crafts, is centuries old. Since generations golden grass items like bowls, fans, mats etc. have been used as utility items in many parts of the state. Women during their leisure time prepare these high quality craft items at a common place. This traditional craft has transcended down from generation to generations. There is a huge demands for golden grass crafts, the lively colonies of golden craft-persons of many villages today reflect their economy growth. Even the lanes and by lanes of the areas reflect the change that has come about.
The artisan community work unsociable hours and in extreme conditions to support their families with their amazing craft skills, transforming raw materials that nature provides into stunning eco-friendly usable products. The artisans are in full control of their products, they decide on their prices according to the time involved in production. Senior artisans have been teaching the crafts knowledge as well as the ancestral songs and poems to the new generation, telling them the history and different methods, teaching them lovely songs that are sang during harvest and crafting preparation. These artisans believe that they can make a difference in people’s lives by spreading their work and showcasing their skills to the rest of the world.