It is just amazing! How things like Water Reed and Water Hyacinth are used perfectly by Northeast artisans to create lovely stuff.
Kouna, a spongy water reed is one of nature’s gifts to the people of Manipur. Just like bamboo, there is a deep sense of emotional feel associated with Kouna. Every Manipuri adores this plant and has great affinity for the products made from it. Religiously, every household will have at least one or two products made from Kouna, because for every Manipuri, it is a customary love.
Locally popular, this species is a unique eco-friendly plant that grows in the swamps of Manipur. The bio-degradable, non-toxic and air conditioning properties of Kouna makes it an ideal raw material for home decor items like mats, carpets etc.
Harvesting happens usually twice a year i.e once around the start of rains in summer and the other in winter. The summer harvest is of superior quality because the stems tend to grow thicker with the lush showers. Once cut, the stems are dried in the sun until it becomes soft and suitable for crafting. A bunch of cut stems are woven to create products of different shapes and sizes.
The Kouna Sisters – Irengbam Surbala & Ranibala Devi, Manipur
The ‘Kouna Sisters’ have brought life to the unique and dying craft of Kouna. Irenbam Surbala and Renubala Devi are two industrious artisans, from Manipur, who have earned a name for their artistic production of decorative and household items made from Water Reed or Tulle’s stems (known as Kouna locally).
All the members of the family are specialized in the making and production of Kouna products. Running a small family-led business, they have around 30 artisans working with them to produce some of the finest jewelry boxes, stools, bags, mats and so much more. The revival and global recognition of this ancestral art through mainstream exposure has been the dream of the two sisters.
Still strong on their journey, the sisters work with dedication and pride. Preserving tradition while introducing modern additions to your life is what they’ve mastered in. Stay eco-friendly and urbane with one of their many products.
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