Wicker Work

Grown in murky waters, it takes Muhammad Yusuf Lone and his workers four days to prepare these twigs so they can be used to prepare various products. After taking out from mud, these twigs are washed and cleansed. Then the water is boiled in a huge container made of iron whose outer structure is formed of bricks. The fire is ignited and prepared under the structure for one day and one night and the willow twigs are put inside the structure, colloquially known as ‘Boiler’. These straws are put inside the boiling water to soften the cover and after six hours are taken out from the boiler. In the last phase, when the straws are cooled off and the outer cover is softened, these straws are skinned off and bundled, ready to be used for making kangris (firepots) and other wicker products.

Photography by Mubashir Khan/GK

Freshly-cut wicker twigs are being transported in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
A Kashmiri woman boils the wicker twigs as part of a process to soften them and allow their use in making kangris and baskets.
A young girl helps her family in the processing of wicker twigs.
A young boy and a girl help their family in the processing of wicker twigs.
A farmer places the wicker twig bundles as part of a process to dry them in the sun.
A man is helped by his children to carry wicker twigs in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
A Kashmiri man peels the bark off boiled wicker twigs which are used to make Kangris and beautiful baskets.
Kashmiri men peel the bark off boiled wicker twigs which are used to make Kangris and beautiful baskets.
A Kashmiri woman peels the bark off boiled wicker twigs which are used to make Kangris and beautiful baskets.
An artisan weaves a basket with wicker twigs in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
A worker weaves a kangri with wicker twigs in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
An artisan weaves a basket with wicker twigs in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.