Unlike other regions of India, the expertise of craftsmen of Kerala is totally indigenous in their style of creating items. The bamboo mat paintings stand exemplary of the unique signature style of intricate weaving. In fact, Bamboo Mat Paintings form an important part of the major industries of this South Indian state. The mat paintings are the depiction of attractive and beautiful scenes, birds, animals, human as well as religious figures that carry the tradition of the state as well as India. The paintings are done in diverse dimensions and eye-catching colors with a streak of finishing touch by way of beautiful bamboo reed frames both at the top and the bottom. These are extensively used as decorative items that suit any stylish interior. The main center for bamboo mat paintings is Irinjalakuda of Kerala. Except from these, some of the items that are created out of bamboo and cane include chairs, teapot, TV stand, fans, Tiffin carriers, bamboo shades, bamboo bowls and bamboo-reed table mats.
Even the bamboo fibres are crafted into exquisite piece of art by just using simple equipments. The fibrous reeds are enlaced to make mats with striking patterns that catch fancy. Several other artifacts viz. picture frames, room-dividers; planters and so on are made from bamboo and cane and sometimes with the bamboo grass. Bamboo and cane are also used as a raw material in pulp and paper, bamboo ply and traditional industries in Kerala.
The Kerala government in order to accelerate the growth of the bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala has established a state owned corporation, viz. Kerala State Bamboo Corporation (KSBC) in 1971. The organisation has put up a unit for the manufacture of bamboo ply, a panel product. The unit produces panels out of woven bamboo mats of finer variety. Moreover, The Kerala State Planning Board has prepared a proposal for the overall development of bamboo sector in Kerala in late October in 2000. As a result, the Kerala Government constituted the Kerala State Bamboo Mission with the aim to organize the scattered resources of the State and adopt a focused approach to revitalize the bamboo sector. It has also encouraged promoting value addition, enhancing income generation and alleviating poverty.
With the consideration of the major scope for development of bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala, the production of raw material should be increased by taking proper cultivation of bamboo. With the aim of creating new designs for innovative products in the handicrafts sector along with the appropriate skill development, promotion of bamboo-based modern industries supported by technology, the government is taking necessary initiatives. To aggravate the bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala, the Kerala government has introduced mechanized means of primary bamboo processing, imparted training inputs to artisans and provide the artisan community with a platform for marketing their products. The policies set up by the government aspire to promote bamboo based industries at cottage, small, medium and large scale levels.
The present scenario of bamboo and cane craft of Kerala enhance the employment opportunity and livelihood security of the bamboo dependents, promotion of bamboo sector development as a part of rural development linked with forestry and agroforestry to enhance employment opportunities. Even the participation of prospective entrepreneurs with high investment and even with foreign participation will help the bamboo and cane craft of Kerala to occupy the international market. According to the plan of the government design and product development institutions like National Institute of Design and Industrial Design Center (IIT, Bombay) shall be involved in imparting training to the craftsmen to improve their skills and make value added crafts from bamboo and cane.
The bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala get huge response in the exhibitions at national level and this enables them to improve their skills as well as facilitate marketing of their products as well as increasing the demand of the crafts made out of bamboo and cane. Media plays a vital role in popularasing the bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala. The exclusive bamboo houses increase the trade of tourism of Kerala.
Apart from being the essential raw material of the bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala, bamboo plays a major part in the development of many other trades of the state. The bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala has a possibility of immense growth and development as the government has taken many initiatives even taking more initiatives to encourage the craft as well as the artisans. The government has also thinking to register the bamboo and cane crafts of Kerala as small scale industry and promote the market expansion and value of the crafts in India as well as in abroad.
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