Himachal Pradesh, a state in India that is at the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. It’s known for the quaint valleys and snow-covered mountains. Most of this beauty is made by the pine forest, with a cover of about 40,000 square kilometres. But the state is facing menacing environmental complications caused by the fallen leaves of pine trees called pine needles. This imbalance, caused by these needles, have had massive impacts on life and the entire ecosystem. It’s also the fight against plastic pollution and the endeavour to sustainably support stakeholder communities.
In 2007, the imbalance caused by the pine needles forced the local communities to come together and take a step towards saving the environment. Sudarshana Kumari, a resident of Rait in the Kangra District of Himachal is a pioneer in pine needle craft. She has received variousrecognitions from the government. Using her skills to experiment with pine needles and weave utility products she has trained over 4000 women in the state and is providing sustainable employment to over 70 women. In this craft, the pine needles are woven, coiled or braided together to make utility products like table mats, baskets, coasters etc. These products are zero waste, biodegradable and can be used for years with very low maintenance.
In February 2021, the pine needle artisans, House of Locals, and Karwaan came together to promote this hidden gem of Himachal by creating innovative products with the objective of creating market linkage for the artisans.
House of Locals is a contemporary design studio based out of the North East that focuses on product development. Their entire pine collection is about exploring shapes and textures in everyday objects keeping in mind the functionality aspect.
“We understood the importance of design integration in crafts and how important it is for designers to work with artisans“ – Founder, House of LocalsLast modified: 28 June 2021