Knowledge and technology required for handicrafts have existed in our country since ancient times. Like the pottery industry that has been active in our country for thousands of years, the cane and brass industries have a long history. Of the two industries, the cane industry has been active in Sri Lanka for several centuries now. In the recent past, the cane industry has seen a decline due to various substitutes coming into the market. Even those who are currently engaged in the cane industry are doing so in the midst of various problems.
Village names such as Weweldeniya, Wewelduwa, Wewelkandura, Wewelwala, and Wewelpanawa can still be seen today as there were people who were engaged in the cane industry in Sri Lanka from ancient times. Indigenous peoples in Sri Lanka used canes to make ladders. Among the 18 types of artisan teams who came to this country during the reign of King Pathis II was a group known as the ‘Kulu Potthan’. Their task was to make various items using canes. The cane industry uses different types of canes to make wicker products. At present, it is difficult to find enough canes for the cane industry in Sri Lanka and canes are imported from countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Cane manufacturers use canes to make string hopper decks, chairs, racks, boxes, baskets, and ornaments. The cane items created in this way are more beautiful because of the different patterns used for it. The cane industry is a traditional industry that has been active in the country for centuries. From then until today, many people have made the cane industry their main source of income. Even today, foreign tourists visiting the country are keen to buy cane related items.
If the government helps to revive the cane industry, those who left the cane industry can start a new industry. This will increase the number of cane products produced in the country. If the government develops a proper system for selling such cane products, the cane manufacturers will be able to earn a decent income. Also, the plastic products used today are not environmentally friendly. Therefore, if the relevant parties try to re-popularize eco-friendly cane products in the country, a good time will dawn for the cane manufacturers in Sri Lanka.
How to make canes for making goods
Since the canes grow in water, the water should be removed after cutting the canes. If the water in the canes is not removed, it will not bend properly. Drain the canes and keep them straight for about a week. The canes should be bent after the water is well-drained by that process. The oldest method of bending canes is to take a piece of cane, soak it in a pot of kerosene, make a torch and bend the cane over the flame. In recent years, a gas torch has been introduced for bending canes. The molded blade is used to shred and crush the cane. After a long process, the cane parts are assembled using wood and iron nuts. Then weaving is done using traditional knowledge.