sabai craft is awesome. Sabai grass is one of the natural fiber splenty available in the forests of the Mayurbhanja district in Orissa. The tribal people called it as “Bobei Dauda or Bobei Ghasa” locally. The scientific name of Sabai grass is ‘Eulaliopsis Binata’, which consists of long leaf fibers.
The fiber length of sabai grass is more than that of bamboo but fiber diameter is 2.5 lower than bamboo. Sabai Grass consists of high cellulose and pentose with low lignin content (non woody plants). Sabai grass is mainly used in the paper industry.The artistic hands of rural people have given a new recognition in handicraft.
Sabai grass is collected from the forest mainly by the rural women who are then dried and made into ropes by manually operated machines. The dyes used for coloring the rope are synthetic dyes. These are then used for making utility items.
HISTORY OF THE SABAI CRAFT
The idea of making domestic articles from sabai grass rope came into minds of people .For the first time sofa sets were produced in Baripada Jail by the prisoners .They produced the sofa set by bamboo frame. Later on iron frames were used to make sofa sets durable.
In ancient times the sabai grass is used to make rope. But when paper mills were established this grass was used as one of the raw materials in the peppermills. But local people as well as tribal people did not quit the practice of making rope out of it. The rope out of sabai grass is exported to states like Kerala and West Bengal.
SABAI CRAFT IN BALIAPAL VILLAGE:
Sabai craft was covered under RAHAA in Baliapal village, Balasore , Orissa. The different type of crafts covered were mostly sabai crafts, others were crafts made out of golden grass , dead palm leaf , bamboo, etc. RAHAA is the sister organization of Mr. Jethys Adventure.
RAHAA train their artisans and the products that the artisans make are then sold in the exhibitions. They have 50 SHG’s and 1000 artisans working under them. The blocks are divided into the following:
1. Basta Block: 12 SHG
2. Baliapal Block: 5 SHG
3. Surudhia: 10 SHG
4. Karanja: 5 SHG
5. Pratlupur: 5 SHG
6. Bethgodia: 2 SHG
7. Vikagodia: 1 SHG
OTHER EXISTING SABAI CRAFTS OF THE VILLAGE:
Other existing crafts of the village are crafts made out of Sabai grass, Sabai rope, Scrupine, Dead palm leaf, Golden grass, Nalia grass and Bamboo.
RAW MATERIALS OF SABAI CRAFT:
The raw materials needed to make the product are:
MAIN SOURCE OF RAW MATERIAL:
Raw materials are easily available from Mayurbhanj (approx 40 kms from Balipada ). During rainy season it becomes difficult to acquire these raw materials, because moisture fades the colour of the rope. They get chemical dyes from Kolkatta.
TOOLS FOR SABAI CRAFT:
The different kinds of tools used are:
Iron Frames, they order them from the welding shops. The price differs with the difference in size.
Bamboo frames are also used.
“Sui -Dhaga” (needle and thread)
PROCESSING OF SABAI CRAFT:
Here process is mainly discussed in terms of a particular product, the Basket.
Talli: Bundle of sabai grass is held and tied together with another coloured dead palm leaf with the needle.
They start stitching from the base and proceeds further on the top stitching it in the same manner. The application of stitches resembles chain stitch, one kind of Indian embroidered stitch.
After this they do the edging i.e. when they close the stitches on the brim of the basket.
Then they make the handle of the basket and stitch it on to the basket to complete the final product.
They pack the products by wrapping it first with newspaper, they put silica gel inside the paper to maintain its shape, and then cover it with polyethylene and finally packing them in cartons.
They travel mostly on trains or busses during exhibitions to exhibit their products to different states.
Rented rooms are hired to keep their products, once it comes from their SHG’s. They have to keep the products in a dry storage because, in the presence of damp and moisture it rotten the products and hence they are rejected.
RANGE OF PRODUCTS:
The range of products includes both decorative and utility items. They are not recyclable products. The decorative items include wall hangings, souvenirs like fish, ball, stars, gift boxes etc. The utility items include bag, dustbin , coaster , dinning mat, hot case , lamp shed , “ chattai “ ( mats) , and boxes made out of both bamboo and iron frames.
RECENT CHANGES IN:
SABAI CRAFT MARKET:
In the recent years there has been an increase in the market .The value of sabai grass crafts have been recognized with pride and highly appreciated in the national market. They’ve put up exhibitions in collaboration with DASTKAR , ORMAS , DIC, OKHILA BHARTI ,
they also sell their products to design stores like Kamayani , Delhi and one in Madras. They sell to Industries Crafts P Ltd, Bangalore. These products fetch a good demand in the market which helps the tribal people and poor women to earn good money.
The technological changes have been vast. They explored from ‘’baith’’ to bamboo. Earlier, they produced sofa sets in bamboo frame, later iron frames were used to make sofa sets more durable. The NGO Adventure developed the quality of the rope and the rope making process.
The tribal people made fine rope which is called zero quality rope. They are also working with computers with help of designers to have a preview of their final products.
Making products from zero quality rope
The design diversifications have changed immensely. They get their designs from renowned designers of Kolkatta and Delhi. They’ve worked with Pooja Rathore of” Art Bankar”, Delhi and Payal Nath of “Designing Plaza” Kolkatta. Trends change mostly in the designs of bags. The NGO Adventure used this rope to make mats, baskets and design bags etc by the technical knowledge of Industries Crafts P Ltd, Bangalore.