Guest Author - Preena Deepak
The Asian Palmyra tree, Borassus Flabellifer is extensively grown along the coastal areas of India. The fan shaped leaves of the Indian palm tree are dried and used to make several craft items. Besides being ethnic and chic these products have been silently promoting green living for centuries. Making craft items with palm leaves is the traditional profession of several coastal communities and most of these products are made by women. Here is a glimpse of ten products made out of eco friendly palm tree leaves.
Baskets of various sizes and shapes are made with dried palm leaves. To make them more attractive, it is common practice to dye leaves and weave them to create patterns and designs. Palm baskets are often used by local fruit, vegetable and fish vendors. Besides being light and handy, these baskets keep items stored fresh as well.
The moram is a traditional kitchen utility found in South Indian homes. Resembling a large sorting tray, morams are made from palm leaves and used for de-husking grains.
Palm leaf boxes are dainty and can be used to keep trinkets. However, these boxes are also used by rural communities to store food and it is believed that palm boxes keep food fresh for several hours. Certain Indian sweets are also stored in palm leaf boxes to retain flavor.
It is a common practice in India to use the floor to sit, relax and sleep and so mats are widely used in Indian homes. Palm leaf mats are a green alternative to plastic ones and come in a range of sizes. These mats are also an integral part of local ceremonies and celebrations.
Any visitor to popular Indian beaches cannot miss out on the trendy palm leaf hats on sale in the stalls. These broad hats keep the heat away and are completely eco friendly.
Hand held fans are deep rooted in Indian culture and a necessity in every Indian home. Palm leaves are often used to make these fans. Palm leaf fans are definitely superior to plastic ones as they are light, easy to hold and use.
Bags and Pouches
Palm leaves can also be woven into bags and pouches. These are ethnic and a great replacement for plastic shopping bags.
Umbrellas made with palm leaves keep the heat out in a green way. These are made by skilled artisans and have been used in India for ages.
Dividers and screens made with palm leaves provide refreshing shade and can add the much needed touch of elegance while decorating homes. Made and patterned entirely with palm leaves, these screens speak for themselves on green living.
Much before paper made its appearance in India, inscriptions on palm leaves were used as a means to communicate. It was also a practice of those times to decorate these palm manuscripts with paintings and etchings and this led to the birth of a new art form called Talapatrachitra which is still practiced in Orissa, India.