bangladeshi wheat straw art

found by j.e.

Found in 1998 in a grandparent's estate, and rediscovered in November 2001. With the card is a printed note:



"The wheat straw craft of Bangladesh is a simple yet time consuming activity carried out mainly by ladies of this country. It uses the wheat stalk to produce intricate designs of traditional patterns and of various aspects of life in this country. The colouring is mainly natural but deeper tones are obtained by burning the wheat.

"The process is not difficult but it involves a lot of patience on the part of the craftsmen. Firstly the wheat stalk is cut into lengths, then it is split down one side, often using a comb. The stalk is opened up and flattened. Then, using a flat, iron chisel-like implement, the back is scraped leaving a fairly thin long length of wheat stalk fibre. These lengths are then pasted onto a thin sheet of locally made paper. The next step is to turn the paper up side down so that the wheat side is facing the table. The ladies then take sets of stencils made out of either thin plastic or card board. These stencils put together like a jig-saw puzzle make up a complete design. One by one they will trace the stencil onto the paper and then cut out each piece until they have a complete set of straw shapes. Using mostly thin black card, these straw shapes are put together and pasted on to make a complete design.

wheat straw card insert illustration

"Any one card may take from one to two hours to make from the first process of spliting the straw to the final stage of pasting the pieces on to the cards. Wheat straw is an ideal craft for the women of this country. It allows them to work in their homes. It also permits the teaching of various aspects of this craft to other more junior members of the family. The activity can become a famlly affair. This craft is cheap as it utilizes locally available materials which can be bought by people both in villages and towns. It is a versatile craft for it allows changes in design and product without any necessary changes in equipment. Most important is the fact that it is labour intensive and therefore allows for the involvement of many people. When you buy a wheat straw product we would encourage you to buy not out of sympathy, but out of understanding of the work that has gone into the product and the ladies who have laboured to produce something beautiful for other people to enjoy.

"A product of HEED Handicrafts Bangladesh. Distributed by Shetuli Craft Ltd."

A white insert is pasted inside, and at the back is the following:

Mirpur Wheat Straw Centre

«found before · found later»
found is part of
page ©2001 rory ewins