Sourav Nath (19), a BA Sociology student, has been a bamboo artist for three years now. At the age of 16, he trained for three months under Mohan Saikia, known as the ‘Bamboo Man of Assam.’
“Training is essential for bamboo art. It’s impossible to do without training. There are many tricks that have to be learnt,” he tells The Better India.
Since then, he’s been innovating and experimenting on his own. Living in Bokajan village in Assam’s Sivasagar district, his raw material bamboo is readily available and grows all over the state.
The first thing Sourav does is acquire the bamboo, which he cuts to an approximate size, depending on the item he has chosen to make. He then leaves it to be dried, which is called curing. “Some people do treatment when it’s still wet, but it’s better to do the treatment once it has dried completely,” he opines.
The green covering then has to be cleaned off. After this, he measures and cuts it more precisely, readying it for design. Once the basic structure is ready, he also adds some design or accessories, sometimes carving into it, and other times adding small pieces of design. “I prefer not to paint it since I like the natural look better.” Only the smaller accessories are painted.
Finally the item is polished, first with a layer of fevicol, and then with varnish.
He makes decorative items like lampshades, miniature monuments, pens, and more. For these he gets orders from his entire district and earns an annual revenue of Rs 1 lakh.
To help and share his knowledge with others, he launched his YouTube channel about two years ago, where shares tutorials on how various bamboo items are made. “From cutting the bamboo to making the basic structure and bringing it all together with glue, I explain the entire process of making an item in my videos.”
There are certain things one must keep in mind when working with bamboo. Bamboo treatment is the most important step when working on creating anything that’s good quality. “Without treatment, the bamboo will rot after a few days.”
Finishing is another important aspect of the process. “This may be smoothening the item through sandpaper or adding accessories with glue and painting on top.”
Through his work and videos, Sourav wants to spread bamboo art throughout the world.
1. How to Make Bamboo Cutlery
2. How to Make A Flower Pot
3. How to Make A Hanging Flower Vase
4. How to Make A Bamboo Bookshelf
5. How to Make A Bamboo Pen
Edited by Divya Sethu