Top 4 Eco Friendly Handicraft Items from North East


Craffi presents to you the top 4 nature friendly handicraft items from the land of North East. Read on..

1. Kouna Craft: 

The word Kouna is derived from the word “Kou”. Manipuri name Kou spells craft items.   In Meitei culture, Kouna is closely associated with deity “Phakamgba”. Some members of this culture have a strong belief that Kouna is a reincarnation of their deity “Phakamgba”. Thus, the people of Manipur have a deep sense of emotional and religious connection with Kouna 

One of the most ancient traditions of the Manipuri society is Kouna craft.  Natures gifts to Manipur, Kouna is a spongy water reed like bamboo. Every house of Manipur has a minimum of two Kouna handicrafts items. Culturally, it been employed in the process of mat making.  Kouna plants are eco-friendly, non-pollutant and bio degradable. 

Khangadok cluster primarily dominates the Kouna handicraft. Khangabok is home to skilled artisans who are trained to weave around moulds. In the region of Langmeithet, everyone weaves mats and some of them have also taking training in weaving 3D products. However, in Shikong and Kuarok Maring village very few people weave mats for sale.  

Kouna handicraft is evolving, today many new crafts items such as baskets in different shapes and sizes, cushions and mattresses, boxes, trays, ladies purse are crafted out of Kouna.  People have started comprehending de facto that once it is planted it lasts approximately 20 to 25 years and is harvested three to four times a year. This harvesting knowledge has resulted in a growth of people harvesting Kouna to their low -lying fields in Thoubal.

2. Reed Mats: 

The Reed plant is indigenous to Manipur. For centuries, in Meitei culture reed or Kouna is connected to deity Phakamgba. Legend has it that it is the reincarnation of deity Phakamgba. Therefore, the inhabitants of Manipur hold a deep spiritual and emotional connection with Kouna. 

Originally belonging to Thoubal district, Kouna is strong and elastic. The humble artisans have been dipping their hands in this paddy straw tinted grass. Historically, kauna mat is famous for curing backache once the patient lies on it. It is also used a herb to cure fever

India embraces a strong ancient craft heritage that speaks of resource optimisation, waste management and sustainable material usage. This grass craft symbolizes the same. 

The cultivation of Kouna has reached new heights.  Today reed mat have a huge demand in India as well as in international market. U.K, U.S, Germany, France, Switzerland, UAE are customers of this mat.  The main reason being, apart from its aesthetic appeal this craft is also eco-friendly, non-pollutant and biodegradable.

3. Cane and Bamboo Craft

Manipur echoes with the praises of cane and bamboo sang by Pena singers and other bards. Cane and Bamboo continue to be an integral part of Manipur. Yet, Meitei script holds no mention of these two. On the flip side, ancient manuscripts such as the Panthoibi Khonggul, the Poireiton Khunthokpa, the Thanga Chinggoirol, and the Yumsharol talk about the way villagers used cane and bamboo.  These scripts highlight it was used to craft baskets and traps. 

The Ningthourol Lambuba, a manuscript on different Meitei Kings, articulates the use of Pai (a carrying basket) by the Meiteis. Traditionally, Pai was hung on the shoulder to carry things. The manuscript further states that in around 17th century Meiteis replaced Pai with bags made of cloth. 

In ancient time, Manipur valley was dotted with bamboo products. Houses, cooking-huts, out-houses and granaries were all constructed using bamboo and thatch. The reason being both items were available in abundance. 

Cane and bamboo craft continues to dominate the Manipur craft map. In the bygone era, natural fibres were used to make daily products. Nowadays, tribes have evolved towards making sellable materials that hold aesthetic yet functional use. The second larger producer of bamboo products, Manipur produces varied bamboo craft products such as sofa sets, murhas, mats, basketry, tray, chair, table, flower vase, ashtray and other decorative and utility articles. 

4. Black Pottery : 

The tradition of Black Pottery is believed to have originated from two Longpi villages in Manipur, namely Longpi Khullen and Longpi Kajui. Tangkhul community resides in the hill district of Manipur and practised this craft. 

The origin of this soulful craft is attributed to Goddess Panthobi.  Legend has it Goddess Panthobi is the mother of artifact-making. Thus, Longpi Pottery holds significance in rituals during childbirth and marriage. Initially, only the royalty and the rich of Manipur had access to this pottery. 

The tradition of black pottery is very much alive in soul of Longpi. Even today, each family in Longpi masters the art of making this beautiful pottery. Whilst all the houses of this village are buzzing with the making of black pottery, not all sell it. Some indulge in this craft only to satisfy their soul. 

A couple of years back around 17 women of this village joined hands to form “Loree Hamlei”. These talented women have sold black pottery through craft stores across India and even abroad. Since there is no chemical used, pregnant women across globe are using it to avoid morning sickness. 

Today, in addition to the characteristic cooking pots, stout kettles, quaint bowls, mugs and nut trays etc. new design elements are also being introduced such as table lamps, candlestick holders etc.

Posted On - 13-November-2018
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Pearl Care


Pearls the most beautiful organic gemstone need to be handled with love and affection. Craffi the Karigar presents a complete, easy and efficient guide on taking care of pearls. 

Read on for storage and cleanliness tips. Do keep in mind the pointers listed that should be completely avoided 

Storage: 

1. Say no plastic bags or jewellery boxes. As these often cause scratches. Opt for bags made of silk or cotton.  Also, always store pearls separately to prevent damage. 
2. Designate a special space for pearl storage. Never hang pearls, they should only be stored flat. 
3. While travelling, always carry pearls in a protective fabric pouch. Ensure they are not stored in a security box as they get dehydrated soon. 
4. Store them in a place that’s away from health and cold. 
5. Always allow pearls to breathe. 

 Avoid

1. Never brush your pearls with use toothbrushes, scouring pads or abrasive material. This will not clean them, rather it will damage it.  Also, do not use commercial cleaning materials. 
2.  Avoid cleaning with material that contain chlorine bleach, vinegar or ammonia. Anything apart from soap and water should be avoided. 
3. Do not steam clean pearls. 
4. Pearls should not come in contact with direct source of heat such as fireplace, stove etc. 
5. Avoid strenuous activity while wearing pearls. 

Cleaning Tips: 

1. "Last Thing On First Thing Off" is the golden rule when it comes to pearls. 
2. For cleaning, softly dab the water and soap on your pearls with a soft cloth. 
3. Polish pearls only using soft cloth that is dry. 
4. Use only those jewellery cleaners that are titled safe for Pearl
5. Always use only jewelry cleaners that are labeled as safe for Pearls.
6. If you accidentally spill anything on pearls, then quickly soak them in lukewarm water with gentle natural soap. Rinse well and let it dry. 

Posted On - 16-July-2018
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Monsoon Care for Handicraft Items

Follow these tips to protect your much loved handicraft items from monsoon. 

1. Wooden Craft:  Monsoon ensures that the air is pregnant with moisture. The resultant can be a swollen wood. Here are the steps you need to follow during the rainy season to guard those exquisite wooden craft: as a thumb rule, always use dry cloth for cleaning wooden handicraft.  Always make sure, there’s no water leakage near the wooden craft items. 

2. Carpets and Rugs: Carpets add grace, elegance and splendour to home décor. Monsoon season calls for extra care of these pieces of jewel. Always ensure there’s no dampness in carpets.  Vacuuming should be done twice a week to remove dirt. In addition, regular dusting should be done, this cleans the carpet off dead fibres and flies that can result in allergies and itching.  If any kind of water or food spills over the carpet, let it get sun kissed for some time. In case you wish to store your carpets during monsoon, roll it and never fold it. Add silica gel pouches as they absorb dampness.

3. Metal Handicrafts: Metal handicrafts are gorgeous and add spark to a room. On the flip side, they can easily be rusted if not taken care off.  Monsoons come with high moisture and this can rust metal handicrafts damaging them. To avoid this from happening, as a golden rule, regularly clean them using a dry soft cloth for cleaning. Wipe of the finger prints completely as they can bring down the luster. 

4. Leather decor and accessories: The moisture and dampness can permanently spoil leather sofa, bags, shoes, chair and belt. All the money you have spent on buying these expensive products can go down the drain. To avoid this from happening, follow the following steps: never leave leather bags wet for too long, always let them dry so that they do not carry fungus. A trick to drying them completely is to leave them under the fan overnight.  Gently brush leather sofas daily. Whilst covering leather bags and shoes, always insert silica gel packets in them

To get regular updates and information on Indian handicrafts, log on to www.craffi.com 

Posted On - 06-June-2018
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4 Indian Crafts That Have Survived the Wrath of Time


Indian handicrafts have witnessed the wrath of time.  They have remained unchanged under copious kingdoms and cultures. Read on as Craffi, the Karigar presents 4 Indian have survived generations. 

1. Madhubani: Prior to 1930 Madhubani paintings was a well-guarded secret of Madhubani region. In 1934, Bihar was hit by a major earthquake. This resulted in British officer of Madhubani area William G. Archer discovering this unique art on damaged walls of Madhubani region while he was examining the earthquake damage.  Historically, during festivals, these paintings were crafted by women on walls and floors of their houses. Originated in the Mithila region in Bihar, it’s named after its mother village, and thus is also known as Mithila Paintings. Today, to preserve this art form prints of Madhubani are also used on table linens, napkin rings, and lamps, wall hangings etc. Silk sari borders, dupattas, kurtis etc. are also painted in Madhubani style. 

2. Roghan Painting: Only 6 surviving people in this world practice this ancient art form. In the remote areas of Kutch, Rajasthan resides the humble and talented Khatri family that has practised this art form for generations. They believe that this art form might fade away as their next generation does not the patience required to take this up. These gorgeous paintings are made on fabric with castor oil, paints and a 6-inch thin mel rod. 

3. Patola: Patola saris proudly wear the crown of being the most expensive saris in the world.  The characteristic of these saris is that they can survive for approximately 300 years retaining the colour. Artisans dedicate six months to craft one sari. It takes 70 days for colouring silk threads and 25 days for weaving.
This tremendously multifaceted and time-consuming craft was dying, when designers and government came together to breathe life into it. 

4. Manjusha: The only art form in India that is portrayed in series, Manjusha is a representation of a story. It originated from the land of Anga Pradesh (currently known as Bihar). Initially, all Manjusha products were crafted only for Bishahari festival. During the British rule this mysterious craft flourished. Unfortunately, in the middle 20th century, it started fading. Since then, the Bihar government had adopted copious initiatives for protection and encouragement of this craft and to patent it as Bhagalpur folk art.  

For more fascinating and mysterious tales from the land of Indian handicrafts log on to www.craffi.com 

Posted On - 06-June-2018
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4 Interesting Facts on Indian Handicrafts


Saluting the rich heritage of Indian handicrafts, Craffi, the Karigar presents fascinating and informative facts on Indian Handicrafts. Read on to discover how the ancient art of handicrafts has saved tress, provides employment and more!! 

1. In 2012, Madhubani artists painted tree trunks with masterpieces and prevented them from being cut

In 2012, Madhubani paintings protected more than 100 trees from being cut. The reason being these trees were decorated with Madhubani painting. Forms of gods and spiritual symbols such as Radha-Krishna, Rama-Sita etc. were painted on these trees resulting in none of them being chopped off. The artists also transformed highway number 52, Madhubani district into a tourist attraction.  

2. Rogan Painting is done by only one family in India 

The legacy of unique and mesmerizing handicraft of Rogan Painting is practised by only one family in India. This lone Muslim family in India, the Khatris has ensured their craft is breathing and blossoming for over three centuries. Gafoorbhai Khatri, head of the Khatri family, has taught this craft to each and every member of the family. Surprisingly, most members of his family have won a national award. 

3. Indian textile & handicrafts industry is the largest employment generator after agriculture 

Recently, the minister of state for textiles Ajay Tamta threw light on de facto that Indian textile & handicrafts industry is largest employment generators after agriculture. Around 7 million people including a large percentage of women. At ASSOCHAM event, the minister of state for textiles Ajay Tamta, spoke about economic importance of textile & handicrafts sector in terms of low capital investment, high ratio of value addition, and high potential for export and foreign exchange earnings. 

4. World’s most expensive Kancheepuram Silk Saree “Vivah Pattu” was sold for $100,021; £50,679

As per Guinness Book World Records, the world’s most expensive saree was sold for  Rs 39,31,627 ($100,021; £50,679), on 5th January 2008 made by Chennai Silks, India. This piece of treasure is adorned with 11 paintings by the celebrated Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma. 4760 man hours went into making this saree. Embroidered in metals such as gold, platinum and silver, this silk saree is punctuated with Navratna stones such as diamond, emerald, ruby, yellow sapphire, sapphire, topaz, pearl, cat’s eye and coral. 

Posted On - 19-December-2017
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DIY: Tie & Dye Craft


Craft is not just a piece of beauty possessed by the owner. Craft is a love affair where you fall madly deeply in love. For this to happen, you need to surrender to its magic. What better way than to create your own craft. 

Our world today is dominated with artificial things. However, the beauty of craft lies in its natural self. So, let’s go back to making dyes the ancient way. When natural plants, fruits and vegetables were used for tie and dye. Follow the step by step instructions sketched by Craffi. Go ahead, write a new love story!! 

Ingredients: 
1. Dye 
2. Squeeze bottles
3. Rubber Bands 
4. Rubber Gloves 
5. Buckets/Bins 
6. Scissors
7. Garbage Bags 

Procedure: 

1. Get your hands on your choice of dye material. Craffi recommends using natural fibres such as cotton. 
2. Soak the fabric in water and then ring dry it. This effect ensures clothes react better to dyeing. In-case of new garments, always wash them first with a little detergent. 
3. Make your dye!! Here’s your guide to natural dyes. For pinkish/red dyes, use beets and blueberries. Blackberries and red cabbage create purple dyes. Yellow onions give you a charming mustard yellow, coppery colour. A pale yellow dye is made with orange and lemon peels. To make dye, place chopped ingredients in a pot with twice as much water as ingredients.  Boil the water and allow it to simmer for an hour. If the fabric calls for a deeper hue, leave the ingredients in the water (without heat) overnight. The last step is to remove all the hard material with a strainer and you are left with pure liquid dye. 
4. Twist up the fabric and tie it with copious rubber bands. 
5. Slip your fingers inside the gloves and the let magic begin. Simply, surrender to as many colours as your heart says. Use one tint or dye in sections to create stripes. 
6. Spread the garment on a plastic protected surface. Spread the dye on the fabric, ensure it penetrates into folds. Repeat on the other side.
7. Allow fabric and dye to make love over night as they rest in plastic bag. This ensures the dye really sets into the fabric.
8. Remove your items from the plastic bag and rise them with cold water. Now, chop off the rubber bands. 

Colour Combination: 

1. When fuchsia and a little yellow come together red is born. 
2. Orange is the baby of red and yellow.
3. Yellow and turquoise make green.
4. Blend a lot of turquoise with a little fuchsia to make blue.
5. Purple can be made using turquoise and fuchsia. 

Posted On - 08-November-2017
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Taking Care of Ceramics

Colorful, chaotic, charismatic ceramic crafts brighten up the room with their historic presence. However, caring for this fine craft can be a daunting task. Thus, one of the most common damage cause is rough handling.  Craffi, points out tips to keep your ceramic treasures shining for a long time. Read on: 

  • Always wash ceramics by hand. Before initiating the cleaning procedure, identify the ceramic type and material such as metal mounts, ivory etc. Examination should always be done under bright light. This will ensure ceramics are not damaged and any potential threats are identified. 

  • You do not have to eradicate all dirt and stains. In case of antique crafts, dirt or stains may embrace historic interest. It may always not be possible to remove dirt without damaging the piece. As a golden rule, before cleaning the entire piece, test clean a small part to make sure its damage free.

  • Dishwasher is never a good option as dishwasher detergents, high temperatures, high pressure water are abrasive. They can permanently harm glazes and coloured enamel decoration. However, when the dishwasher cannot be avoided, go for top rack.  

  • Keep in knowledge, ceramics with luster finish can only be hand-washed. Unless, you wish to bid adieu to that glint of gold.
  • Say no to household bleaches or proprietary cleaning products as they inject irreversible damage. Cleaning liquid can lead to new stains or make old stains worse. Abrasive creams and cleaners will hurt subtle adornment such as gilding, luster or enamels and also dull the glaze itself.

  • Casseroles, pie plates, baking dishes are mostly oven safe. However, when using one, distribute their contents evenly, especially when reheating food. These delicate pieces should not be used for freezer storage or stovetop cooking.  

  • While handling delicate ceramics remove jewellery that might scratch or catch, such as rings, bracelets or watches.

  • When you touch ceramics, your fingers leave behind a residue that can damage certain decorative finishes. Therefore, Craffi recommends using nitrile or vinyl gloves when handling ceramics. 

  • Never lift a piece of craft by its handle or any parts that stick out, such as finials, spouts, knobs and the limbs of figures. The reason being, most likely these fragile areas have been repaired in the past.

Posted On - 09-October-2017
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Taking Care of Silver

Silver ware of India consists of varied items like silver utensils, pooja articles, silver photo frames, antiques, gift items, candle stands etc. Gifting gods and goddesses in silver and silver coins are considered very auspicious in India. These gifts have a traditional meaning and serve as a great gifting option. Silver ware is famous for its beauty and intricate designs and how they can be used in kitchen, décor, gifting items etc. Taking care of silver ware can helping longevity of the item and helps in maintaining the luster. If we don’t take care of the silver handicrafts, they can lose their beauty and get dull.

So here are few DIY’s to take care of your precious silver items:

Use concoction of soap and water. Take a piece of cloth and rub the soap and water mixture and until its clean.

Use 2 teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with small bowl of water and gently rub the tarnished area, once the area is clean let it air dry and avoid sunlight

This is a fun diy, where you can use an old toothbrush to clean the silver items. Take a pea size toothpaste on the brush and start brushing the area which requires polishing.

Take 2 tablespoon of Lemon juice and rub the affected areas.

Here are few tips which will allow you to enjoy your silvers rather than cleaning them:

Store them in proper dry place and avoid sunlight and water

Keep cleaning your silver handicrafts whenever required

Once cleaned make sure your silver handicrafts are completely dry before storing them (in case of silver utensils)


Posted On - 29-June-2017
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