Coconut shells, which were once thrown away or burnt are now a source of livelihood for the Assamese population, especially the self-help women groups. Depending on the quality, the coconut shells are first collected as raw materials and placed under the sun for 7 to 15 days. Post the carving and shape manipulation of the shell, as per the design, the outer portion is smoothed using a sand paper. Various other materials such as coir yarn, bamboo are added for ornamentation of the products. Varnish is applied on the products for a finished touch. The process is said to be bio-degradable and environment friendly. The product range has developed over time from decorative items to utility based products – bowls, pen holders, lamps, purses to name a few.
Another popular plant fibre, Jute is found in abundance in Assam. The first preparatory step includes retting – where the jute fiber is extracted from the stem of the jute plant by bundling the jute stems and finally dipping in running water. The plant is then stripped where the non-fibrous matter is scraped off to get the jute fiber. The fiber can now take various forms and is usually converted into yarn of varied thickness. While the fine quality jute yarn is mostly used for textile – converted into garments, bags, shoes; other popular product range of jute includes hangings, coasters, mats, baskets and jewellery.