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COIR MAKING

Coir making is a primary occupation of the backwater folk. Entire villages engaged in coir manufacture can be seen along the waterside mainly between Kollam and Thrikkunnappuzha. It is very interesting to watch the coir making by the village ladies with the help of weaving wheels.

A true product of Kerala, its magical textures and natural properties are brought to life in the hands of master craftsmen. in the process, nurturing and nourishing a craftsmanship that evolved over the years

Coir is one of Kerala's most important products. Coir is making from coconut fiber extracting from the coconut husks. The husk contains 20% to 30% fibre of varying length The Coconut fiber can be spun into one of the world's strongest threads and woven into mats also.

The first step in making coir is to "ret" the coconut husk; the husks are put for retting in a salt water area about 4 feet deep and covered with mud. After nine months, the husks are removed from the retting mound, loaded into canoes, and taken to the threshing compounds.

The retted husks are then pounded and crushed by mostly ladies with mallets or machetes. Then pull off and collect the fibers.

Baskets filled with the threshed and dried fiber are taken to nearby spinning sheds where most of the workers are females. There is accomplished by having a spinner at a wheel to which is attached a gear with a small spinning axel. The women spinners stand two at each wheel and each wheel has two gears.

Each woman attaches a handful of fibers from her basket to each of the two gear ends; the spinner starts to spin; and the women walk backwards swiftly, pulling fibers from their baskets to attach deftly to the spinning and lengthening yarn. After walking backwards for about 30 feet, each woman begins to lace together the two strands as she walks forward towards the spinner, creating a stronger yarn strand. After approaching the wheel, she pulls off her newly created thread and hangs it on a nearby wall, then runs a few fibers around the axel to start over.

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