Although the willow weaving art is commercialized, artisans still use traditional techniques to make wicker products. Some modifications have been made to increase the sales value of products. Step by step process of handmade willow weaving is described below:
- Willow saplings are sown around February-March and harvested in October.
- The plant's stem, known as withy, is sorted according to length and girth.
- Farmers then sell these stems to contractors involved in wicker willow manufacturing. They further send these stems to artisans based on what product they are supposed to make.
- Artisans boil the stems in huge water boilers for a night to soften them.
- After boiling, they remove the bark from the stem with the help of unique sticks known as zealan in Kashmir.
- The stems are then dried for several days under direct sunlight to remove the moisture.
- Stem, devoid of moisture, is used by artisans for making beautiful wicker willows. They may smoothen, dye, or cut the stems per the product's requirement.
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