While our parents talking about how things were at their time, we just can’t believe we are starting to use the same phrase now. But the only downside of that phrase is that we don’t have the holistic and traditional stuff that they had. All we are left with is flashy plastics that are suffocating our soil and other western items that are so fast-moving, that we can’t hold on to it. That’s all led to a quest to bring back what we lost in this fast-moving world.
Let us introduce you to Mrs.S.Subbuthai, from Devarkulam, a place that is located 36 kilometres from Tirunelveli, who is indulged in palm leaf crafting for more than thirty years. She conducts workshops and trains people across different generations in this amazing craft and helps them to have a career in it. She did her three-year training course on palm leaf crafting offered by the government of Tamilnadu and has been awarded various certificates for her meticulous work on this craft. Recently, she has been awarded ‘Poompuhar District Craft Award’ for the year 2018-19 for her excellence in palm leaf craftsmanship by the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd. She has showcased her skills and products at the Government-organized exhibitions in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. She has also been the main spokesperson representing the palm leaves crafters and demanding their needs in various forums in front of top officials like Collectors, Thasildars and other government officials.
When we interviewed her, we were mind boggled with the number of uses and benefits that a Palm tree have. From the bark of the tree being used to treat fractures and sprains by keeping the muscle and bone in place when tied straight with it; to the resin from the leafs used as anti- septic to treat cuts. Palm trees are just like a human, it needs to grow and mature (usually it takes up to 25 years), see the world and make money.
Since it is the times where people are turning towards being holistic and eco- friendly, these palm products are boon. The palm leaves boxes are so thermo- dynamic that refrigerating the fruits and vegetables in them is keeping them fresh for a longer period of time and still retains their nutrition. Oh, it also has artistic look fellas, so that’s a catch right? Best known product from this palm leaves is a container boxes, that can be custom made by her.
But we got a bit of problem, cause after her time there will be very few people to do this work. Now a days getting the Palm leaves, the raw material for these products have become difficult. People who knows how to climb these trees and acquire leaves are growing old, and we youths never had chance or had a chance and chose not to learn it.
This is an intricate art that needs patience and skill to get the desired product. Even after years of doing this Subbu thai is still eager to explore the crafts and push her limits. We find a great deal in this craft cause, you name it, we can customize it from kids toys, marriage return gift boxes, file holders, to grocery boxes anything can be made from this.
Let us join hands and turn the clock to old times, enjoy what our ancestors had but with a modern twist. Mrs. Subbuthai found her ikigai in her craft, come let’s explore and find ours
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