Pottery is one of the oldest handicrafts in Sri Lanka. In the evaluation of mankind, making of clay utensils by man could be considered as one of the milestones. Hence clay could be considered as the first raw material that was used in an industry in the history of mankind.
Kaolin, ball clay and red clay are some major types of clays found in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan pottery is turned out by means of a small wheel being turned by the potter while shaping the lump of clay with hands and then oven-hardened in a traditional kiln built of brick. Today clay is widely used to make low fired cooking pots, jugs, bowls, tiles and vases in Sri Lanka. The coloring in attractive patterns is now introduced with the increasing demand for decorated pottery and ornaments. Today there is an increasing trend to use clay utensils for beautify the dinner tables and adorn the homes.
The lacquer industry has its roots in traditional villages such as Angul Maduwa Hapuwida, Maussagalla reveals highly traditional features on today also. This industry which allied to a long history was remained as a well-developed and tactical industry under the royal intervention in even medieval age.
The current generation of lacquer ware craftsmen who created very fine designs for king and the society are involving with producing decorative designs to competitive modern market such as jewelry boxes, containers, decorative bowls and etc.
Today they have to devote for protect their identity in competitive local market also. This qualitative lacquer work which established as an industry has the capability for adopt to fulfill competitive modern market and needs.
Bamboo and Cane
Bamboo and Cane
Bamboo & cane or rattan are considered as the non-timber forest materials and they are a good alternative to the high demand for wood.
Although the production of handicrafts by bamboo was being rarely existed as a household handicraft industry in Sri Lanka, handicrafts production using cane has been around for a very long time. It is important to treat the raw materials before use for the handicraft production to preserve and extend the life term of products.
Today, modern technologies have become popular all over the world that are able to produce household bamboo products for everyday use. Bamboo based products have been encouraged to go beyond handicrafts through earning more income. The National Design Centre is striving to introduce marketable novel designs to cane & bamboo manufacturers to strengthen the economy through crafts.
The evidence can be found from different sources with the review of historical ages in Sri Lanka to prove the establishment of brass industry in ancient Ceylon from Anuradhapura to Kandy period. It is said that the production of brass ware has evolved greatly since the Kandyan period. The manufacturing of metal ware and brass ware was inclined from Kandy period with the increase of foreign immigration to Sri Lanka after Second World War. The reason for it was the high demand for souvenirs and gifts made of brass.
The casting was done by the talented craftsmen who experienced in casting technique. Similarly,the manufacturing of brass products by hammering and carving was done by well skilled craftsmen. Mostly these brass products were decorated by traditional designs. They revealed their technical know how and unique characteristics which specified to different historical period.Today the craftsmen who engage in handicraft industry produce ornamental and utility products forming traditional designs using brass as the raw material.
Coir based products have always been an integral part of the lives of the people of our country. It is a totally natural, Eco-friendly and exceptionally tensile fiber also known as golden fiber which is common in Sri Lanka. Coir or coconut fiber is used in making various products like ropes,strings, brushes, carpets, baskets and decorative items. Many people are now turning to this industry on the demand of foreign tourists.
In Sri Lanka the coir fiber-based productions are carried out in most of coconut cultivating areas and Sri Lanka has become as the manufacturer of the longest and the best coir fiber in the world. Sri Lankan*coir twine manufacturers & suppliers*export coir twine for agriculture and horticulture industries. As different countries are competing as coir manufacturers in the world market, the time has come to replace coir ropes with value added coir products in order to earn more foreign exchange. There is a constant demand for traditional coir-based products and there is also a strong demand for new designs.
The primitive man decorated himself with jewellery turned out with animal bones and teeth,wood and stone. Over the years adornment of jewellery was mainly to display the social status of the wearer. But today, it could be seen that wearing jewellery in various forms was based on social cultural and religious factors. However, wearing jewellery increases attractiveness and beauty. Looking back, we see that jewellery has always been embedded into the culture and heritage of Sri Lanka.
In the past, jewellery was made with expensive raw materials such as gold, silver, pearl and gem etc. But today there is a tendency to wear inexpensive pretty jewellery. As such the jewellery makers have captured the market with jewellery turned out with natural low cost raw materials such as red clay, wood, sea shells, coconut shell, etc. As there is a very high demand for this type of modern jewellery, this industry could be identified as a special source of income generation to those newcomers to the market who occupy as small-scale jewellery manufacturers.
At present a high demand for leather products among local and foreign tourists is growing on day by day. Mostly this production targets on foreign tourists as well as the consumers who earn high income. The leather products are produced as utility items which can be used in daily life as well as variety of decorative goods.
By initiating the manufacturing process according to systematic schedule and using different technical methods tend to manage the wastage of raw materials as well as retain its robustness,elegance and quality of end products.
There is a significant demand for charm and simple designs in the market. The development of new design concepts and the practice of new technical methods for accomplish the above targets may boost the marketing opportunities for leather products.
Rush & Reed
Rush & Reed
The Rush and Reed sector takes a prominent place among the Sri Lankan traditional crafts which has come a long way as a source of livelihood of people from ancient time to recent. Today the rush and reed handicrafts have a high demand as the thrived field in marketing with the attractive finishing and the customer preference over novel designs. In the past this industry was limited only for the household items but today it can be seen various aspects such as consumer goods,decorative items, souvenirs and gifts.
The consumer has the capability to buy these crafts in a new look with the artistic color blend and combination of different raw materials. Today the most of people incline to use rush and reed based utility items as an environmental friendly material and to give the awareness for local raw materials. It is everyone’s duty to conserve and protect the rush & reed based handicraft sector for future generation as our cultural heritage among the handicrafts that ate declining day by day.
Wood is one of the most important natural raw material in the world today. But the cutting of trees is the critical factor against the forest conservation. The relationship between natural wood products and the mankind is prolonged up to ancient time. Therefor the demand for the products derived from wood species is extremely high in today. When wood is used as a raw material in the manufacture of goods, it should be done in a very planned manner so as not to harm the environment.
A wide range of handicraft items made of wood combine utility and beauty in Sri Lanka such as wall hanging, fancy jewelry, sculpture, gift boxes, toys, educational items, household items. Woodcarving is one of the oldest crafts still continuously*practiced*in Sri Lanka. Today the wood products are made of natural resources as well as artificial woods. The value of natural wood resource is increasing with the shortage of them day by day. The manufacture of wood products by artificial wood as the solution for the scarcity of natural wood resources may encourage the forest conservation. It is the responsibility to involve for the national production by providing goods with new designs for market by identifying the changing of customer preference.
According to the Sri Lankan chronicles, the arts of weaving dates back to 5th century B.C. The Mahavamso reveals that the queen Kuveni had been spinning cotton when prince Vijaya arrived to Sri Lanka and it is the most ancient proof of Sri Lankan cotton industry.
Today, Sri Lankan hand looms access the international market with the combination of traditional designs blended with modern trends. Bedclothes, towels and furnishing materials such as curtaining, cushions covers, saris and sarongs are among the hand loom textiles produced in Sri Lanka.
Batik industry was introduced to Sri Lanka by Dutch at the turn of 19th century and today it is rooted into our culture as one of our own with creating unique form of textile art to produce such as shirts, sarongs, dresses, shorts, wall hanging and cushion covers.