Coconut Shell, Fibre & Stem Craft of Kerala

Coconut trees grow all over Kerala, and the coconut is a fruit which is used in its entirety. From the coconut shell products like bowls, vases, tea pots and hookas are crafted. Lamp stands encased in brass and smaller coconut shell articles are also made in Trivandrum, Attingal and Neyyatinkara, while larger items are made in Quilandy in Kozhikode district in north Kerala. Often hookas and large vases are also made by combining coconut shells with brass bindings. Coconut fibre is cleaned, smoothened and made into various dolls and toys with beads and coloured threads to it go give it a decorative appearance.

The process followed by the artisan to make a cup, for instance, is to rub the outer surface of the shell with steel wool and then smoothen the inner part with a chisel. A circular base and handle made with shell are attached to the cup with screws. The first coat of polish is boot polish, after which a final coat of French polish is given.