A robust, fairly-traded brush floor mat featuring a dove of peace. Made in India from environmentally-friendly tough natural coir; naturally damp-resistant. Size: 68 cm x 40 cm
The Shertallai Coir Co-operative Society makes the Dove Doormats. It was the first co-operative society to be founded in Kerala, ("the land of coconuts") in southern India, and is now probably the last.
The inspiration of a former trade unionist who encouraged coir workers to form their own workers' society, the Co-operative was previously a private business before it was bought out by the artisan workers in 1958. The society represents a big step forward for coir workers who had for decades endured a terrible struggle for their basic human rights. Today, most coir is still made in factories that remain in private ownership, but our cooperative partner is wholly owned and controlled by those who work in it. However, partly as a result of the introduction of synthetics, the global market for coir is decreasing, so the co-operative finds it difficult to provide constant work for all its members. New Internationalist stands in solidarity with this co-operative and its eco-friendly natural products.
Coir fibre is 100% natural and originates in the outer husk of coconuts. When you see coconuts on sale in the shops, what you are offered is only the inner and edible parts of the seed pod. Back on the tree, there are also outer layers – on the outside a smooth green or brown skin; then a fibrous layer that surrounds and protects the familiar hard dark-brown shell that you can buy in the supermarket. Coconut trees are tall – commonly 25 metres high – and this fibrous layer around the seedpod is a strong shock-absorbing mesh that protects the seed from damage. It is also water-resistant. Coir fibre comes from this part of the coconut. The structure of coir fibre cells is narrow and hollow, with thick walls made of cellulose. Mature coir fibres contain more lignin, a complex woody chemical, and less cellulose than fibres such as flax or cotton. This makes coir stronger, although less flexible. Coir fibre is relatively water-proof. After removal from the tree, the fibrous husks are beaten to separate out the long fibres. Nowadays, this process is usually done by machine. Next comes spinning the fibre into fine yarn, then further twisting of that yarn to make the long and very strong coir strings that are loaded onto big handlooms ready for weaving. Spinning is often still done by hand. Handloom weaving always requires a combination of skill and energy, and a close eye for detail. These qualities are extra evident when weaving such a tough and robust yarn as coir.
|Values and causes||Vegan, Eco Friendly, Fair Trade|