Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our Master Artisans-Hanmi

Hanmi  -a talented creative master artisan

 Hanmi is from the bank of the river Sharavathi .Her crativty in art and crft closely connected with the land and the nature where she lived
She is a master  in oral  folk literature of Ramayan and Mahabharata, She is master in folk art and other craft skills like mat weaving, making containers and pot holders.Her skills extended in making torans with paddy shoots ,For her art work  she makes her brush and prepares her colours from the nature .

If the unexplored.. untouched..   dying folkart called ShediKale is still surviving  it is  because of  Hanmi  This ritualsitic art has no place in their community because the rituals are not in practice . Now it is  surviving as an art form  in Hanmi,s crafty hand because she  values it  . (Pl see the article Shedikale in this blog)

Hanmis a visiting artisan . a resource person an art professor at buda folklore research center. Students call her hanmkka and she is fun,affectionate ,  and  a very strict teacher.

mat weaving with Shibumi ,Bangalore students

With Srishti School of Fashion.Design and 

At The  Valley School,(K.F.I.)Bangalore

With Karnataka university students

Since 4 years more then 900 students interacted with hanmi and she is one of the main resourse person at our Folklore Center .

Her craft skills not only in the folkart but she is a matweaver and she makes beautiful  mats and catainers with the river reeds from Sharavathi river bank.,She makes pot holders with paddy hay which is also a dying skill as people stopped using earthen pots

Her paddy Torans (Door hangings) are great expressions of her creativity and her  intigarated weaving pattern

Recognized and honored..

 Folklore Research center documented her Tribal Ranmayana and Mahabharata and other oral literature which would have been lost otherwise.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Herb Garden Project

This is to invite you to enrol for a rare and unique workshop/Project for schools and colleges on  a Herb Garden  and Wealth from Weeds.

In a time when unseen by our very own eyes, pesticides find their way into our bodies through food we eat, an inevitable cycle of unhealthy consumption and resultant ailments begins. Have we traded our health and that of our children to the convenience of readymade, processed, and often junk food? It is with a will to find and share simple inexpensive solutions to this problem, that we have devised a workshop for our children

The workshop will be conducted using hands on experience to learn and keep alive a dying knowledge system.

Would you like to be part of the problem or the solution?
Would you like to equip yourself with natural and easy ways to better health?
Would you like to truly enrich your children’s lives?

If yes is your answer to any or all of the above, then this workshop is for you.

What is special about this workshop    ;

This workshop will  focus on the practical aspects So that we get a first hand experience with earth ,soil and connecting with the surrounding field
This workshop  not only hilighting the desi herbs but  its a combination of local wisdom and western herbs .So that children find it more applicable and useful and interesting when and they are able to connect with this herbs.
Its a total understanding of identifying herbs ,designing and  creating a herb garden and at the end of the workshop  actually  preparing food and refreshing drinks using this herbs
.Its an ongoing project which involves  cultivation, harvesting,  drying of  these herbs and storage of the herbs and effective use of this herbs.
This workshop will will take its own shape  according to the   involvement, interest,and creativity  of the group. Please remember that its not an activity . Before you join please make sure you are committed and ready to give time  every day with what you created and what you learnt .The workshop will gets its credit when you apply these learnings  in yourdaily life.

The course involve 3 kind of herbs

  • Medicinal Herbs-
  • Culinary herbs-
  • Desi(Native) herbs and greens /local wisdom (Including weeds which has medicinal and food value )

  • Plant identification (including weeds which has got medicinal and food value)
  • Herbariam /scrape book 
  • Slide presentation
  • Field visits
  • Foraging (depending on the surrounding  field)
  • Designing and preparing  a Herb Garden 
  • Naming the herbs 
  • Preparing a herb-guide handbook with recipies and home remedies 
  • Cooking and preparing refreshing drinks from the herb

 About Native herbs and greens
This area is iam particularly interested and keen to pass on the native knowledge to the future generations .I don't wnt to miss out this aspect in my herb garden project.

Our  urban, suburban and rural ecosystems are loaded with unnoticed wild foods and herbs. Overlooked as "weeds," these are the same shoots, greens, roots, fruits, berries and flowers that nourished and healed our ancestors for centuries. We  can gradually learn to recognize them, harvest them ecologically and safely, and have fun using them to improve our meals and health.

Nature provides us food and medicine . Explore  vacant plots  and uncultivated areas in early spring, learn what they have to offer, and you'll come back with an abundance of greens which has medicinal and food value) at the height of their goodness.

Plant identification (including weeds which has got medicinal and food value)

Very few of us are familiar with common wild plants, their identification, natural history, food and medicinal uses, or the folklore associated with them. Because we live in an age when environmental issues are crucial, we must do more than provide our children with textbook information if we expect them to understand and appreciate the natural world and to play a responsible role in conservation.

                                   Students identifying the desi  herbs  in the field visits.-Shibumi School

 About Foraging:

Pesticides, Hybrid Seeds, imported grass, chemical fertilisers, decorative imported plants which just sit there
for years without flowers or fruits contrast with safe, flavourful, native, nutritious produce for our Kitchens.

I’d like to offer the students a powerful tool for changing attitudes and hearts: The earth is overflowing with common, renewable plant species that people have been gathering for centuries — medicinal herbs, greens, shoots, fruits, berries, roots, and seeds, We are going to  foraging for our meal in this workshop..

When I asked the traditional forager what  she was collecting I was amazed to see the green wealth growing allover .I joined her and  came home with a bag full of ganke soppu and anne soppu . In the market what we  see is  commercial green veggies  were laden with preservatives, this was my first opportunity to experiment with this exotic food, and  leaf recipe I came up with was a complete success.

So common and prolific that they’re denigrated as “weeds,” these wild foods are fun to collect and use — and they’re excellent vehicles for getting kids interested in nature, the environment, and the science that explains it all.

The Valley School,Bangalore
Children enjoy this activity . identifying the edible greens in the wild then collecting and preparing a green meal is  part of the project.

                                                               Shibumi school,Bangalore
                                            Designing and preparing  a Herb Garden

studying medicinal herbs-Folklore Research center Honnavar,-

preparing refreshing drinks from herbs -lemon grass tambuli
buDafolklore Research Center-Honnavar

Preparing salad using  herbs from school herb garden

-Shibumi school,Bangalore
                                                                                 Shibumi school ,bangalore
                                    Cooking and preparing refreshing drinks from the herb

Thanks to The Valley School,Bangalore,ShibumiSchool,Bangalore,
Lata,Sharad,Shalini, Apoorva and- the participants of my first herb Garden project Ankit, Yanik, Sanjay, Ravi, Varun and Rajat.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hand made Quilts

Nirmala akka's quilts

Posted by Carol who participated in Quilting workshop organised by buDa folklore in Bangalore
All handmade and painstakingly done. These quilts are just gorgeous. So vibrant and full of good energy. If you'd like to purchase or place an order please email Savita Uday at folkloreindia@gmail.com.

Judy Sommerfield-Fox said...
Absolutely gorgeous. What is most gorgeous is the smiles on these women's faces.
Carol said...
It was a really happy weekend I must say. :)
Encyclopedia said...
Carol...i loveeeee the colors and the wonderful energy that is present within all of you as you happily play with fabric...smiles...I love the handpiecing aspect of it... E

Monday, September 26, 2011

Capturing the Folklore. aspects...

He is a friend.. blogger.. and a passionate photographer. His name is Raghavendra Rao.His blog is special for me because he brings the folklore through his camera with great wisdom and simplicity.I love the way he captured the folklore of his home town Gowribidanoor with great passion and love .His photographs with small write up  giving an insight into this world of Folklore.

I am hoping to translate this lore into English soon . He has succeeded in capturing something which is so precious, yet so many of us taken for granted and i wish him to continue capturing our rural heritage . Please see the link for his blog    http://hallihyda.blogspot.com

ಬುಗುರಿ ಆಟ

         ಈ ಆಟವನ್ನು  ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ  ಗಂಡು  ಮಕ್ಕಳು ಹಳ್ಳಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ  ಬುಗುರಿ  ಆಟವನ್ನು  ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ  ಆಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ   ಬುಗುರಿ  ಆಟಕ್ಕೆ ಇತಿಹಾಸದ  ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆ  ಸಮೃದ್ದಿಯಾಗಿ  ಮಹಾಭಾರತ  ಕಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಂಡವರು  ಮತ್ತು  ಕೌರವರು  ಆಟದ  ಸನ್ನಿವೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ  ಕಾಣಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.

Posted by Raghavendra Rao

ಕುರ್ರ ಮಾಮ

  ಇವರು ನಮ್ಮ ಕಡೆ  ಹಾಲಕ್ಕಿ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ ನುಡಿಯುವರಂತೆ........ ನಮ್ಮ ಗಡಿಗೆ ಹೊಂದಿ ಕೊಂಡಂತೆ  ಆಂಧ್ರ  ಪ್ರದೇಶದ  ಇವರನ್ನು " ಕುರ್ರ  ಮಾಮ  ಅಥವಾ ಕೊಂಡ ದೇವಡು "  ಅಂತ  ಕರೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವರು   ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ  ಹೇಳುವ ಮುನ್ನ  ಈ  ರೀತಿ  ಪದಗಳನ್ನು  ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ.
                         ಕೊಂಡ ದೇವುಡ 
                         ಕುರ್ರ ಮಾಮಡ
ಒನ್ನದಿ  ಒಂನತ್ಲ ..............ಲೇನದಿ  ಲೇನತ್ಲ  ಚಬುತಾನು................ ಎಂದು  ಪ್ರಾರಂಬಿಸಿ  ಬಹಳ ಚಾಲಾಕಿ  ತನದಿಂದ ಭವಿಷ್ಯ  ನುಡಿಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವರು ಹೆಚ್ಹಾಗಿ  ಕೋರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಂದು  ಹಳೇ ಬಟ್ಟೆಗೂ  ಅಥವಾ  ೧೦ ರೂಪಾಯಿಗು  ತೃಪ್ತಿ  ಹೊಂದುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವರು  ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗೆ  ಕಾಣೆ ಆಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ತುಸು  ದಿನ ಕಳೆದರೆ
ಜಾನಪದ  ಕೊಂಡಿ  ಕಳಿಚಿದಂತೆ ಸರಿ.
Posted by Raghavendra Rao


Friday, September 23, 2011

Handmade Mavinkurve locks -a dying art

 Indigenous mechanical devices
 Famous Handmade Mavinkurve locks                         Photo Varsha Samuel
The dark kitchen rooms, festivals, the village fair, the sound of folk musical performance at night , the smell of  firewood, ,the kerosene lamps.. .…always stayed with me in my early childhood memories.

 I remember the big wooden chest where my grandmother keeps some unusual sweets (may be brought in the village fair) as a treasure, It was always locked with the metal Mavinkurve  lock..The key in black thread always hanged in her neck. When she opens the lock mean there is a treat for us.

Now the key is with me with lost lock and for me it’s an ornament .I use it as a pendent in my silver chain .I still have it and I feel proud of it. As it has a story, emotions, and my childhood memories with it. Strangely I never knew when i was a child these handmade key was made in Mavinkurve Island where now I plan my cultural study programmes!!. The story continued..!

Mavinkurve is an island on the bank of the Sharavthi River at Honnavar. Konkan Railway runs through this island.This island Mavin Kurve, was a settlement of iron smiths. Their locks were famous at one time! Mavin Kurve was famous for this handmade locks .There were locksmiths family who makes this lock migrated from this place long back. This is a story now.

The shopkeepers of old shops in Honnavar and mavinkurve still uses these locks in their shops and they are the proud owners of this ancient Mavinkurve locks and used by 3 generations. They show that how it has got double locking system and better then any other locks.

The history of lock and key :
Traditionally locks were made of wood, then with the invention of brass, steel and other metals, locks could be manufactured of higher quality components and more intricate designs.

The evolution of lock technology has taken centuries of continual development to get to the level it is at today, with many talented individuals and mechanical engineers improving and refining their predecessor’s original design.
The Egyptians were, according to historians, the first to create a locking mechanism manufactured out of wood some four thousand years ago. The lock was of simple but effective design and required a key to operate it.

Major lock manufacturers are now turning to China for production, it is gradually becoming all the more rare to find a locally manufactured product, although they still are available.

To pin point a specific point in history where the end of handmade locks came about most sources refer to the 1840’s. This is the decade in which the industrial revolution was born in America, not too long after the revolution, mass production came into effect, and blacksmithing was slowly phased out of lock manufacture. 

There aren’t many advances in the art of lock and key making now except the advancements in electronic locks. Locksmithing may be a dying art but lock and keys are here to stay for as long as we want to secure something.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

These letters bring good feelings ...!

Amma and Savi

                                                        Photo: Varsha Samuel Rajkumar

Sam, Varsha and their daughter Joe visited Honnavar last month.  Varsha writes from the heart.. and so.. it means a lot to me..

 Savi's Amma and Appa came to Honnavara about 40 years back to study the folk culture of the place for their doctorate degrees. 
The research became a passion and even after getting their mandatory degrees, they continued their work with the tribals and have settled there since.
Over the years they have documented possibly every facet of tribal life at Honnavara and the nearby villages. They have set up a small museum of folk art and crafts and everyday implements. Ironically, when we visited a Halakki tribal home, Savi carried along musical instruments and ornaments from her collection to take along! The jewelery the Halakkis wear today and the instruments they play are not authentic but improvised versions.

Amma has a thriving herb and medicinal plant garden in her back yard that she has tended with care over the years. Her knowledge of the same is impressive! Show her a leaf, a flower or a berry and she's quick to tell you the common name, the botanical name, whether it's edible or not, it's medicinal uses... and all with an utterly charming smile


Amma's bustling kitchen is simple to the core yet filled with love and warmth. The food that she churns out is simply delicious! The aromas wafting out of her little culinary kingdom tantalize your senses even before they tickle your taste buds and you're captivated. Once you've sat down cross legged on a local grass mat with an array of tempting local delicacies (aesthetic appeal nowhere forgotten), lovingly served on a fresh green banana leaf before you... it's the start of a divine journey with no signs of a destination anywhere on the horizon...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chai Chat - an invitation to pursue your passion

 jaya narayan  http://nohrgyanblogspot.com

We all work for a living BUT do we truly, deeply, passionately love what we do? Very few amongst us actually do.
Most of us have resigned to the fact that enjoying what we do and making money are mutually exclusive.
Now meet Savita, a dear friend and a fellow co traveler in the journey of personal growth. Savita to me represents someone who has nurtured a unique dream and has been able to make it commercially viable.

I hope her story can help us review our strengths, passions and avenues to bring them to life.
Me: Tell me something about what you do?
Savita: I have created “Buda Folklore” that is located in Honnavur in the Uttara Kannada region of Karnataka. Buda Folklores' vision is to emerge as a focal knowledge center for folk culture and heritage. We plan to create a folklore research center with an extensive database on various tribes and indigenous communities thereby ensuring public access and awareness about folklore.
We do the following -
  • Education
  • Publication
  • Research and Documentation
  • Production
  • Community development
  • Conservation
Our focus is on -
  • Propagating the knowledge of folklore of Uttara Kannada to the world
  • Making folklore traditions relevant to current world scenarios across various application
  • Creating a learning community that explore folklore knowledge and its application in contemporary situation.
  • Exploring connections and commonalities with folklore traditions across India and the world.
  • Sharing knowledge-online
  • Enabling continuity of folklore
Me : How did you discover your love for this area of work ? What about you (as a person) makes this area special?
Savita: I grew up in a context where village life was valued and we had close relationships with indigenous communities. Their dark kitchens, open bathrooms, the festivals, the village fair, the sound of folk music, the smell of firewood, and the kerosene lamps stayed with me in my early childhood memories.

I interacted closely with the tribals who were affectionate, content and happy people. I saw them transforming into scholars of great knowledge. They could recognize hundreds of medicinal plants, make tools and toys on the go. They would sing songs based on epics and their perspective on these epics was so different from what we read in books. I experienced community living with their rituals and festivals. They enjoyed an intimate connection with nature. Every part of their life involved nature. There was simplicity and wisdom in their way of living.

When I went to the city to work as a teacher. I missed that part of me. I realized that this unique context provided me a perspective that others who were city bred lacked. I also found a lot of ignorance about tribes / tribal living.

I realized there was immense scope to explore new avenues, revisit documented knowledge at field level, and showcase their work. I painted the canvas to create “Buda folklore”. Building on our existing relationship with the local communities I started examining ways of facilitating small scale low impact cultural tourism to the area. I involved the local communities to help diminish the negative cultural impacts that tourism has especially on the young people of the communities.

Today, we have been embraced by everyone who values our wisdom and traditions.

Me: How do you make your passion earn money?
Savita: I have combined my passion with education and community development. Honnavar the place itself was a great advantage for me to attract people. The geographical landscape of Honnavar with the Western Ghats on one side and the Sharavathi River and the Arabian sea on the other side is unique in its location.

At first, I took my friends on a holiday to stay with my parents and enjoy the local cuisine. Then I invited a group of my students to experience Honnavar .Then I invited schools with nominal fee. Then I invited students from Mount Carmel College for internships for a month to documentation work.

Now we have expanded - have a multitude of offerings
  • Workshops on medicinal plants, folk art, mat weaving, folk drinks, uncultivated plants.
  • Honoring folk artisans
My next plan is to initiate a pilot project in the region to develop artisan community centers that would act as culture center for the community as well as a place for visitors to go and come away with a better understanding of the community and the local culture.

I am able to recover all my costs and invest the money back to the communities. We invite schools, environmentalists, designers, historians, botanists, food technologists, culture travelers, architects through our various programs. We provide them an opportunity to interact, observe, and learn by living with the tribes in Uttara Karnataka.

Me: What gives you the determination to work around challenges / obstacles?
Savita : Working with the community is not an easy task. For them visualizing the long term benefits is not easy May be its our need to conserve or to preserve. I have several limitations. The biggest challenge is working without appropriate communication medium -brochure, website, blogs, posters etc. Communication plays an important role in this kind of work. But what helps me is so many people joining hands, I see friends helping me in writing proposals for funds etc. I see more and more educational institutions sending in their students here.

Me : What is your message to others who are waiting at the threshold?
Savita : If you are really passionate about something and if you truely believe in it then take a deep dive. Until then your soul will be restless until you take that decision.
This path gives you strength.
It becomes your identity.
It becomes your life and soul.
Money follows.

Traditional Baskets and other weaving crafts with natural fibers in Uttara Kannada-western Ghat region

  While  weaving craft with natural fibers  is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say j...