Monday, 2 March 2015

M E A N I N G F U L   D E S I G N

Text: Hina Nitesh

Water Hyacinth – the name brings to mind the floating plant which is rather notorious for killing the aquatic eco-system. Many articles have been written about how the spread of this plant if not checked will choke water bodies. While some people write and research about how to control this weed, there is an organisation that is involved with using it in a positive way.

Aqua Weaves, the brain child of North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEFDl) is the brand name under which these eco friendly products are marketed. NEFDl saw an opportunity to replace bamboo, cane and jute with water hyacinth which is available free of cost and is a nuisance in any case. 

They trained rural artisans to work with the dried weed to create beautiful and practical accessories. The techniques and skills required for working with this material are the same as those used with cane and bamboo. So, in that sense the artisans could easily adapt themselves to water hyacinth. NEFDl has successfully trained anyone who wanted to learn the skills. Design inputs from NID have worked in the favour of the artisans and the interaction has resulted in better process and increased productivity as well as value added designs.

This entire process goes in the favour of nature. By using water hyacinth, the artisans give a new lease of life to the water bodies which were earlier getting choked by the weed. Using the weed in the craft form has changed the lives of many people in the north east. The weed regrows in 12 days so there will never be any dearth of the raw material.

The fact is that many of the artisans who were earlier living in poverty have started their own enterprises and are prospering. This is especially true of the women since a large percentage of women are involved in this work. This surely is yet another instance of design making a difference in the lives of the local.

For more products and details on the products above go to Aqua Weaves. 

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