Workshops at Design Jatra are an opportunity to explore traditional and native construction techniques. These workshops help us as well as the participants to collaborate with skilled artisans of the region and to ideate about new possibilities of these native technologies. The timber joinery workshops are such collaborative endeavors.
Woodwork is a dying art in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. Once highly respected for their craft, the tribal woodwork artisans perfected their knowledge of native woods and skills regarding relevant joints and natural treatment methods. These masons were at the center-stage of the construction process as they were the ones who ensured that a strong, wind-resistant and leak-proof roof covered the houses that were built in the region.
However, due to the advent of steel and RCC, more and more people now prefer either a slab over their houses or a steel frame roof. The ornate wooden door frames are now being replaced by PVC or plywood doors. This has led to a chain reaction of artisans not finding enough jobs and thus, deciding to not pass the craft on to the next generation.
The hands-on wood joinery workshop at Design Jatra aims at restoring the pride that timber artisans had in their craft. The participants of the workshop work directly with these masons to learn their skills and gain information in terms of traditional tools, native joints in wood, and the uses of various species of native woods.
The workshops are an attempt to introduce all facets of traditional Indian woodwork to the participants so that it eventually finds a place in their professional material palettes. It also serves to increase awareness regarding the presence and the predicaments of timber masons. Through these workshops, Jatra is also involved in the process of making a woodwork joinery library that is free for exploration for anyone interested.
Natural materials like mud, stones, lime and sand take millions of years to regenerate. Materials like cement and steel that get made after processing these natural resources use tremendous amounts of energy to reach a usable form. On the other hand, wood as a construction material remains one of the few natural resources we can regenerate within a generation. Unlike the aforementioned resources, wood is usable in its raw form. It is also a material that stores sequestered carbon inside it, wholly different from materials such as cement that instead play a significant part in releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Through these workshops, Design Jatra hopes to generate an environment for the sustainable use of timber as a construction material.
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