Origin: The word coconut was coined in 16th century from the Spanish and Portuguese word coco, spelling "a grin", "a monkey face" respectively. The reason being, there’s minor resemblance between coconut and a monkey head. There is no record that uncovers the secret behind the origin of coconut plant. However, many historians suggest that Malaysia is the birth land of coconut plant.
Though, the history of coconut craft remains blur. There are certain historical records hinting towards this craft traveling from Iraq around 900 years ago. It is believed that the talented wood carving craftsmen from Middle East and Persia were the first ones to establish the trend of carving on coconut shell.
Kerala is the land of coconuts. This trees artistically carpets the region of Kerala. Legend has it, craftsmen from Vishwakarma community in Kerala, who were historically engaged in sword making and carving wood and ivory, dipped their hands in this craft.
Traditionally, artisans crafted products such as bowls, vases, tea pots, toys etc.
Present Day: As per an application filed by Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, "Brass broidered coconut shell craft of Kerala" has been granted Registration in Part A in respect of Articles made of coconut shell falling in Class – 20 under Sub-section (1) of Section 13 of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 with effect from 30 November 2015.
Travelers love Kerala for its eco-friendly ethics both in tourism and in handicrafts. Most of the handicrafts of this state – including coconut craft – are created using natural products such as ivory, bamboo, palm leaves, seashells, wood, coconut shells, clay, cloth, metals, stone etc.
Easily available coconut craft helps creating craft items that are durable, striking n practical; it is available in abundance. The craft uses of non-exhaustible natural resources whilst creating a substitute for the harmful plastic. These factors have immensely contributed in the development of modern coconut shell handicraft industry.
Some of the popular coconut craft items are table lamps, flowerpots, table clocks, different idols, lamps, vases, boxes, cups, spoons etc.
Procedure: The tools and raw materials required for crafting coconut shell handicraft items are Coconut Shell, Hacksaw Blade, Emery Sheet, Buffing Machine, Bastard File, Hammer, Quick Adhesive, Wood Polish, and Sleek Glossy Top Coat.
The process of coconut crafts making can be classified in the following categories: sketching, cutting, sanding, and buffing. In the bygone era, craftsmen relied on hand tools to carve, cut, and finish the edges. However, in the current scenario, machines are used to speed up the process.
Bring Home Coconut Craft: The entire land of Kerala is home to stunning coconut craft items. You can pick up souvenirs in and around Calicut, Trivandrum, Attingal, Neyyatinkara and Quilandy in Kozhikode.