The handicrafts in the district of Mayurbhanj (Odisha) were in a manner acknowledged as an important part of rich cultural heritage of this region. Now though this sentiment continues to be repeated there is pronounced change in the general attitude towards crafts, which is completely insetting our basic sense of life values. For though handicrafts fulfilled a positive physical need in the daily requirements of the people of this region, they also served to satisfy the aesthetic hunger in man and provided a vehicle for his urge for self-expression which reveals a conscious aesthetic approach.
The concept behind the handicrafts of this region as originally conceived was imbuing everything used in the daily life, no matter how common or insignificant with touch of beauty to add brightness to an otherwise dull and drab existence. The handicrafts of late got partially submerged under the rising forces of modern industrialization with its high mechanization, and lost their basic role in the over all perspective. Efforts are being made to find new market now for the handicrafts of this region, hence it is necessary to adapt certain changes particularly in the forms of improved product, design, efficient production technique. At the same time scrupulous care is being taken to prevent any violence to the folk character and rustic vitality of these handicrafts and preserve their beauty of form and color, perfected over long centuries. Craftsman of this region are now also trained to use, in articles of modern use traditional motifs and designs without vulgarizing them.
Sabai grass is grown in a wide part of Mayurbhanj district which is mainly used for making Sabai Rope. Sabai Ropes are mostly sold out side the state for use in weaving Charpai (Cots) and in paper manufacturing concerns. Sabai rope is also used in making Sofa sets, Chairs, Tea Poy etc. The main body frames of the Chairs and sofas are made in Bamboo and wood and Sabai rope is woven and coiled over the frame to give a finishing shape, which attains exceptional excellence.
We have promoted some niche clusters of Sabai Craft by forming those to producer Groups with involvement of members ranging from 30 to 90 members in each Producer Group. Presently we are supporting 350 artisans. To update the skill and acumen, we are organizing design training-cum-workshop with the help of NIFT,Bhubaneswar and NID,Ahmedabad. Till date, About 50-60 handmade designs of different home decor and utilities categories of products have been developed.
The Craft Showroom “Mayur Shilpa” and Market Linkage:
For providing regular market support to these artisans of the District, the District Administration has established one craft showroom in the name of “Mayur Shilpa” in District Headquarter- Baripada,which is totally managed by the skills artisans among the Producer Group Members.
Special care has been taken by the District Administration, Mayurbhanj and ORMAS for marketing of the products produce by the Producer Groups through participating different District,State and National level exhibitions organized at different places of the State and Nation on different occasions. Some marketing tie-ups have also been made with different Govt. & Corporate Agencies.