A cluster is defined as a geographic concentration(a city/town/few adjacent villages and their adjoining areas)of units producing near similar products and facing common opportunities and threats.An artisan cluster is defined as geographically concentrated(mostly in villages/townships)household units producing handicraft/handloom products.In a typical cluster,such producers often belong to a traditional community,producing the long-established products for generations.Indeed,many artisan clusters are centuries old Artisan.
About Iroisemba Cluster:-
Iroisemba Cluster falls under Manipur State in Imphal East district.
The Iroisemba cluster is able to form above 500 Artisans and 25 SHGs upporting the strong work force.The mobilisation gains momentum day by day. Iroisemba Cluster is famous for Wood Carving, Textile (Hand Embroidery), Cane and Bamboo.
Cane and bamboo:-
Cane and bamboo craft in Manipur is an integral part of their daily life. It is a traditional craft and has been practiced from time immemorial. Initially these natural fibres were used to make products of daily use.Every tribe and community makes materials of aesthetic yet functional use, their skills evolved over centuries of usage.
Manipur is the second largest producer of bamboo products after Tripura in the north east.Some of the bamboo products are sofa sets, murhas, mats, basketry, tray, chair, table, flower vase, ashtray and other decorative and utility articles. Bamboo and cane is also used in housing, fencing and even clothing.Most products of the plains are of commercial use like the baskets and the fishing traps.The hills are more into furniture, houses and its implements etc. Though many commercial items are also made today. Basketry involves joining cane, bamboo with bamboo strips with minimum number of tools.It is done on account of high tensile strength of the cane or bamboo.Joining grass with grass with the minimum use of tools can be considered.
In the can craft, mostly furniture items are being made which has a very good local demand.The range of items produced that time and still in use in village include patlo (basket), varli (used for washing) rice and grains), suplis (for cleaning rice), mats in different sizes etc. Bamboo stems or culms of smaller diameters along with cane are used in whole or split form for a variety of baskets, furniture, winnowing trays, hand fans, head gear, fish traps, umbrellas and floor mats.The hollow inter-nodes of bamboo make ideal beer-mugs, hukkas, pipes and musical instruments. Bamboo stems or culms of smaller diameters along with cane are used in whole or split form, for a variety of baskets, furniture, tray, hand fans, floor mats etc.The articles made include mats, table lamps, bags, moorahs, fruit baskets and vases.The other special items are bamboo screens, lamp stands and table mats.Screens made from spilt bamboo are so finely worked that they acquire an ivory look. These are delicately ornamented with colored bamboo chips applique.
Cane, Bamboo, Reeds, aloe fibre., grass, leaves, papers, hacksaw, bill hook, kerosene lamp, mat loom.
The whole stem of cane and bamboo is cut with a hacksaw and split longitudinally into various sizes by a billhook.The cane is heated on a slow fire, generally with a kerosene lamp for flexibility.The objects can be made in two different forms:coiling for baskets; and weaving for mats.In coiled basketry, foundation of the basket is built first by coiling a cane round a central core. It is built up spirally and gradually the width is increased until desired height is attained.The coils are joined together by sewing strips which can be attached in two ways: each stitch passed over the new portion of the foundation coil.Figure of eight is made i.e., the stitch passes behind up, over and under the preceding coil and right over the new coil.Thus coil material is sewn with the strips and a basket is made.The ornamentation of the baskets can be done with attaining lace, paper and shells. The craftsmen cut the bamboo into sizes of desired length with the help of cutting tools called Dao. Bamboo length cut as per thickness with the help of different kinds of knives. The material thus ready is used for making frame of an article or furniture where as pencil cane is used for designing and binding purpose. The thick cane is used for making frame of an article or furniture where as pencil cane is used for designing and binding purpose. The cane is bend in the desired shape for a furniture or article by process of heating with blow lamp. The ends are joined with adhesive and nail and the joints are binded with strips of pencil cane. The items produced in cane & bamboo are cleaned with sand-paper and polished with varnish.
The Techniques of cane and bamboo articles involves the cutting of whole stems with a hack saw and slicing them into splits of various sizes using a bill hook or dao. Slicing is done longitudinally along the length of the densely packed fibres and a fairly smooth operation, requiring only the requisite amount of moisture in the culm. A kerosene lamp is used to heat the cane before it can be bent into shape. The whole stein of cane & bamboo is cut with a hacksaw and spilt longitudinally into various size by a bil hook. The cane is heated on a slow fire, with a kerosene lamp for flexibility. The objects can be made in different forms. The weaving Techniques is done by hand, using water to soften the splits.
Textile ( Hand Embroidery):-
The term embroidery is basically defined as the method of ornamenting a piece of clothing with needlework;or embellishment with fanciful details.Thus embroidery is regarded as the art of decorating textiles using a needle and thread.Embroidery of Gujarat has earned its fame because of the versatility of creations by the artisans.The artisans of Gujarat use an array of stitches that are used to decorate the items.The most important centres of embroidery work of Gujarat are located in the Sarasota and Kutch regions and are admired for the creative excellence.The embroidery of Gujarat is one of the main sources of income for different other communities.Today, even though embroidery is amongst the most traditional methods of decorating clothes, it is still as popular.Designs may date back to ancient times, or the modern geometric modern day designs, but all the same embroidery continues to be one of the common ways of decorating clothes.In fact, specialists feel that today,there is much more scope for creativity and innovation, because of the acceptance level.Ari embroidery of Gujarat has its international market in Nigeria where women drape themselves(during ceremonial occasions)in the embroidered cloth from this region. This has ornamentation of tikris and beads, which make them, look attractive.This type of embroidery is done on a frame of wooden beams.The fabric is
worked upon with a long needle, threads, tikris and beads.Multi sized frames are used,usually about 1.5 feet high, to secure the cloth on which the design is sketched with a stencil.One hand secures the thread under the cloth to the needle while the other hand moves the needle on top of the cloth with ease.Decorative tikris and beads are attached to the cloth with the needle.
This has ornamentation of tikris and beads, which make them, look attractive.This type of embroidery is done on a frame of wooden beams.The fabric is worked upon with a long needle, threads, tikris and beads.Multi sized frames are used,usually about 1.5 feet high, to secure the cloth on which the design is sketched with a stencil.One hand secures the thread under the cloth to the needle while the other hand moves the needle on top of the cloth with ease.Decorative tikris and beads are attached to the cloth with the needle.
Another embroidery pattern is the jaali or net embroidery in geometric or floral shapes and is done by pulling the warp and weft threads and fixing them with minute buttonhole stitches.The finished products dominantly comprise items for household use like curtains, bedspreads, furniture covers and dress material.
Raw Materials used:-
The fabric is worked upon with a long needle,threads, tikris and beads.Multi sized frames are used, usually about 1.5 feet high, to secure the cloth on which the design is sketched with a stencil.One hand secures the thread under the cloth to the needle while the other hand moves the needle on top of the cloth with ease.
As embroidery is not so technical craft to follow procedure but then also small process like:
Set the fabric(Saree, Dress, material,etc.)on Wooden frame(it can be done without frame also)according to the design with desired allowance for the product.The motif is made the tracing screen for symmetrical making and uniformity, like the Khaka.The motif is marked with a marking mixer in a liquid form(Kerosene and gali powder) whether for embroidery the desired motif is neatly embroidery with different stitches to achieve desired motif.
Embroidery designs are prepared by fixing small round shaped mirrors to the material with the help of the buttonhole stitch, the outline being sketched by hand.Silken thread is used for the stitching done in stem or herringbone, closely worked.Flowers and creepers are patterned against a dark background.
Techniques vary with the community and region.The term embroidery is basically defined as the method of ornamenting a piece of clothing with needlework; or embellishment with fanciful details.Thus embroidery is regarded as the art of decorating textiles using a needle and thread.This includes the hand and machine embroidery methods.And till date,hand embroidery continues to be an expensive and time-consuming method.However, in spite of this it is preferred because of the intricacy of the handiwork involved.
The basic techniques an embroiderer uses includes:-
Some of the finest woodcarvings in the Northeast are found among the people of this region. The woodcarvings are usually of human figures or decorative pieces that adorn the youth dormitories in these villages and sculptures erected in memory of the dead. In ancient times, woodcarving was associated with religious beliefs
Even today the front door of each household, which is considered a sacred threshold, has intricate wood carvings of Hindu deities and auspicious motifs like the hamsa/ mythical swan, padma/ lotus, poornakumbha /cornucopia, kaamadhenu and patterned floral motifs.
Other carved wooden items include small shrines and deities, low carved stools for marriages, carved fans for the deity, fertility couples and various small ceremonial containers. The carved panels of deities fixed to either end of a metre-long pole were the other ceremonial items. These panels are called kavadi and afre carried on the shoulders of a person to fulfill the vow to Lord Murugan or Karthikeya. Household kitchen instruments in wood such as grinders, vegetable cutters and serving ladle holders are items given in dowry.
Lathe-turned and lacquered toys in bright colors and at affordable prices are popular all over the state. Carved wooden toys, dolls and elephants exhibiting the skills of the artisan are also made.
Wood Carving’s Raw Materials:-
Basic Material : Bhurkul or gular wood, mango wood, green bamboo, shisham woodColouring Material : Alta, turmeric.Basic Material : Doodhia wood, lac, lac stick, oil, old cloth, coloured paper.Basic Material : Remnants of cloth, bamboo, rags, paperColouring Material : Dye coloursBasic Material : Punki wood, tamarind seeds, lime glue, brush, water colour, oil colour, red sanders woodBasic Material : Cloths, colours, waste material for stuffing, coloured papers, clay
Wood Carving’s Process:-
The wood as per the size of the form to be made is cut from the block. The piece is cleaned and smoothened. The design of the toy to be made is traced on this piece. Extra wood is chipped off according to the design. Fine strokes with the hammer are made on the chisel, which is placed on the area to be shaped. It is smoothened with a file and painted. The painting starts with coloring various body parts. Next the dresses with specific designs are marked out by fine strokes of the brush. The facial features are added in the end.Sugga (parrot) are the wooden toys fixed on the marriage mandap. The mosara, (central part), charkhi and sugga (parrots) are made by the same process These are joined by bamboo killi (screw). The marriage post is coloured with yellow (turmeric), red (alta) and green colours.
The lacquering is done by pressing the lac stick against the revolving article. Oil is also applied at the same time for giving the better polish. Leaves of a kind of flowering cactus are used for polishing. The articles are either in single colour or in bands of different colours. The complicated designs and colour schemes are effected by manipulating the lac turnery and using the multifarious techniques.In Jaipur, the toys are made out of old cloth dyed afresh and stuffed with waste material. When they are gaily decorated with coloured paper and tinsel they look very alive especially with their expressive faces.
Rag dolls are made out of remnants of cloth usually thrown away. These are painstakingly collected and dyed into different shades to work out a variety of colour schemes. The eyes and mouth are indicated by black line . In case of a Rani doll, the clothes & body are fully decorated.
Wood Carving’s Techniques:-
Each wooden piece that is cut to make an item is subjected to a process of slow heating to draw out all moisture. Every single limb is separately carved and joined to the body with adhesive paste of tamarind seeds, and later passed through a coating of lime glue. The painting with colours is done by very fine precision with brushes made of goats hair. Water and oil colours are both used. Lacquering is done on a lathe, hand or is machine operated. For turning slender and delicate items, hand lathe is considered suitable. In the lac turney method, lac is applied in a dry state that is the lac stick is pressed against the woodenware to be lacquered. While the latter keeps revolving, the heat generated by friction softens the lac, making the colour stick. Lacquer ware toys are produced in this way. It is with remarkable skill that the craftsmen manipulate the stick where several colours are used. Some of the lacquered pieces are painted with a brush.
How to reach:-
By Air :-
Imphal, the capital of Manipur is well connected by air and road. Indian Airlines connect Imphal with major cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati and Silchar.
By Road :-
A well maintained network of roads connects Imphal with Guwahati and Silchar. The National Highway No. 39 connects Imphal with Guwahati and NH 53 connects with Silchar.
By Rail :
The nearest railway station is Dimapur town of Nagaland which is 215 km from Imphal. Another railhead is also there at Jiribam, a small town in Manipur 225 km from Imphal.