The biggest shopping season of the year is upon us again. Today we want to revisit the subject of gifts for those hard to shop for. Please review the gift ideas for those difficult to shop for: Uncommon Gifts and Coconut Carvings post for family gift ideas.
So this post is specifically about Unusual Gift Ideas For Families – hand carved coconut shells. These are uncommon in various designs, shades and sizes for any member of the family.
Coconut Shell Lampshade Designs
Hand Carved Coconut Shells
Hand carved coconuts bring back memories for my family. We were a military family stationed in the Philippines many years ago. Wood carving was a native art. Their wood carving village was one of my favorite places to visit. Carved coconut shells were one of the items I was fascinated with then and I still am.
There is a large variety to choose from, and all submitted by different artists.
We’ll talk about, 1) The craft of coconut carving, 2) Other uses for coconut shells and husks, 3) Shells and coconut farmers, and 4) Coconut Shell Craft Production Process.
Craft Of Coconut Carving
Carving coconut shells into decorative art pieces is a craft long standing craft. This craft is practiced mostly in India in areas where coconuts grown in abundance. It’s also prevalent in other countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Java, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
One report mentions this particular craft being brought in from Iraq almost 900 years ago. So it’s possible the wood carving artisans from the Middle East and Persia were the first ones to try carving coconut shell.
Other Uses For Coconut Shells and Husks.
Bowls and serving spoons has always been popular items made from coconut wood and shells. Historically coconut shells have also been used for cooking fuel and part of building materials. Other miscellaneous uses are floor polishers, brushes, floor mats, small planters, and bird feeders.
Then And Now
Craftsman have started being more creative over time with the help of modern tools. The art pieces they’re making now are increasingly decorative and intricate carvings. They have gone from crude to much more exquisite and delicate carvings.
Shells and Coconut Farmers
Crafting objects out of coconut shells to make household objects was traditionally practiced by coconut farmers. They would scoop out the copra (meat) by making a neat hole at the top of the shell. The shell was considered waste or the by-product.
Hollow coconut shells are bought from coconut growers. Most all of the wood used is procured from coconut plantations. Some of the crafted pieces are done by individual artists. Others are done as a group or village project.
A family constitutes a group, with each family member assigned to a particular job. When a community or group is involved, the product is made then distributed to various women who complete the finishing and polishing of the pieces in their homes.
Coconut Shell Craft Production Process
1. Choose the right shell for the product that has to be developed. They come in all sizes.
2. Scrape the surface of the shell with files to clean the husk on the shell, thus making it smooth.
3. The shell is cut open with a hack-saw, the cut determined by the shape and size of the product to be made.
4. Smaller portions are cut from the open shell with a hack saw. The shape to be cut is drawn on the inside of the shell and the blade is inserted through a small hole.
In case of a complicated design, for example if a piece of jewelry is to be made, a photocopied paper stencil is stuck on the inside surface of the shell and the design is carved out using a bow blade.
If a circle is to be cut then a paper stencil is made. This is stuck on the inside surface of a cut portion of a shell, the bow blade is inserted and the circle carved out from the shell. Smaller elements are cut and stuck on to the main piece for ornamentation.
5. After a shape is cut out, the edges are made smooth by filing or by sanding with sand paper.
6. This process is followed repeatedly till the finish is satisfactory.
7. After the article is made small hooks are attached if required. This is done by drilling a small hole and sticking the metal hook using a strong adhesive such as Fevikwik.
8. In case of a bigger object such as an ice cream cup or a bowl, the whole shell is used by cutting it as per the required size. Various designs are engraved in the shell using a file.
9. After the object is made it is sanded with sand paper till it is smooth. It is then polished with bees wax. Alternatively, if a glossy finish is desired, it is given a coat of synthetic varnish. If the surface is to have a dark finish then it is painted before the varnish coat is applied. The inside of the object in this case is first rubbed with sand paper to get the desired smoothness and then it is buffed on the machine. No varnish or bees wax is applied on the inside if the object is to hold foodstuff.
10. The piece is dried in the sun.
Over time this outstanding craft has proven longevity. It has gone from producing decorative pieces to producing contemporary lifestyle products and furniture.
This is due to more refined tools being used. During the early years hand lathes were used, but now machine lathes are used. This has greatly increased the possibilities. The machine drill has made precision drilling possible, therefore enabling a perfect and well-finished product.
The craft has gone from being completely manual to having some simple machines. However, the judgment and skill of the artisan still make decisions about the look and beauty of the product.
I hope this information is helpful to someone looking for uncommon holiday gifts.
Until next time,
PLEASE REMEMBER TO ENCOURAGE SOMEONE TODAY!