Srinagar: As Papier-mâché items are slowly replacing disposables in functions held in Kashmir, the demand for handmade Papier-mâché items have soared thus generating job opportunities for local artisans.
With change in trend with people ditching disposable plastic items for indigenous Papier-mâché items, it has given a new lease of life for artisans and businesses associated with sale and distribution of these items.
Muneer Ahmed, a Srinagar resident who is getting married next month is busy buying all the necessary items which are required for a typical Kashmiri marriage, the list includes Papier-mâché items too.
“In Kashmir we use synthetic and plastic items during marriage functions. These items are not only harmful to the environment but are single use and end up in dustbins. If we introduce small items of Papier-mâché, the guests can take them home and most importantly it will help artisans and local industry to grow,” Muneer said.
In the past few years the Papier-mâché and other handicraft items have been a very important part of marriage ceremonies. From general gift items to products that are used to serve the guest, people have been adding the Papier-mâché touch to their wedding functions.
Many young entrepreneurs are using the online mode to sell these items.
Ruhail Ali Beigh, a Srinagar based Papier-mâché manufacturer and seller has taken to social media platforms to sell marriage related items of his “Papier-mâché World '' outlet.
He said that the trend of using this art is picking up and helping local businesses which towards uplifting artisans too
“Earlier, such items were only bought either by foreigners or tourists but now locals are finding ways to add this art through various means. Marriage ceremonies are the main event where people are including this art. These items are used as dry fruit boxes, sweets trays, bowls, jewelry boxes and other items made of this art form.”
In addition to manufacturers like Beigh, there are many young entrepreneurs who are making Papier-mâché items a part of their business.
Adnan Muhammad Mattoo, who runs the renowned wedding planning company ‘Zool Production’, says that Papier-mâché and other Kashmir art items form a vital part of his wedding setup. He said in addition to pottery art, wood art and carpets, the Papier-mâché is the vital part of his every client.
“The Papier-mâché art, like many Kashmir art, is on decline. I think such events give a good chance to revive and help the industry. We use a rage of items in décor and other forms during any wedding. These include plates, boxes, gifts, stage pieces and other things. During any such event when our client and their guests see the art, it in turn promote this centuries old art and help all business outlets and the artists,”Mattoo said
These young entrepreneurs say that, earlier Kashmir art used to rely only on tourism but now with these local opportunities, there is a silver lining for manufacturers, entrepreneurs and artists of Kashmir.