Kora

Here is another blog post from the Natural Fibre series.

Korai (Tamil Nadu) or Kora (Kerala) is a species of the cyperacea family. It is a sedge or wetland plant which is cultivated in the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The grass also grows abundantly on river banks. The stems are cut near the base of the plant. The stems are then spliced vertically and dried in the sun. On drying the sliced stems curl into smooth tubular forms. A large variety of mats with stripes, geometrical motifs and natural dyes are woven in several districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. These days more new and versatile products are being made to suit the needs of urbanites.

But the mats are very popular and are very durable as well.

But the process of creating a mat is painstaking and time consuming. And must be appreciated and encouraged. The grass which grows to a height of 3-4 feet is harvested in the months of September/October and February/March. The grass is still green when it is harvested, and is immediately spliced. Only the outer part of the stem is used for weaving, while the inside white pith is discarded. The strips of grass are dried in the hot sun. When the grass starts turning yellowish brown it is boiled in water and then dried again. The dried grass is then buddled up and is soaked in water for 3 to 7 days. This causes the grass to swell up three times its original size. Natural dyes are added to the water, to give colours like blue, red, green, etc. After this it is dried again in the sun.  Then the weaving commences on a floor loom. And the edges are then polished with a stone.

Our love for handcrafted products is only increasing.

Hope it is contagious.

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