Along a winding river in the village of Bagdha live the many families who produce our hemp products. For almost 30 years, starting in 1982, hemp has been used to produce a variety of products including twine, exfoliating mitts, soap savers, washcloths, scrubbies and hand-knotted shopping bags to name a few.
Apart from HEMP, the artisans produce many other products by using the "fibre of the gods" - JUTE. They also use a third fibre, HOGLA, which is more commonly known as seagrass. These three natural fibres supports Bangladesh's economic base where you can derive income, by means of agriculture, product development, bringing to market consumer items and selling them world-wide.
A little bit about our hemp products.
The hemp is grown and harvested locally and the processed fibre is purchased from nearby markets. The artisans process the fibre by sorting, combing and spinning into "twine" balls, so the fibre can then be used to make our hemp products.
Sorting - the raw hemp fibre is purchased from the local market, stored and when needed sorted into bundles for combing.
Combing - this is the process where the fibres are thrown into a steel, pronged and brush like "comb" - which separates the fibres, removing the shorter threads, leaving the longer threads that suit the spinning process better - see picture above. Combing also removes bits and pieces of plant debris, making the product lush and ready to spin.
Spinning - By hands, the strands are carefully threaded together while a second person spins with a small spinning machine, the fibres are guided along a series of wooden poles which have slots, that are used to guide the threads. This twists the fibres into a twine and then into a ball, so it can be used as "twine balls" or to make other products.
Dyeing - The natural-coloured hemp twine can also be dyed, to provide different colours for the twine balls or other products. The twine is boiled in large vats that contain the dye, to achieve the desired colour.
Macrame, Crochet and Knitting - Using the balls of twine, the artisans make a variety of products using the skillful techniques of macrame, crochet and knitting.