From Garbage to Art: Empowering Women via Cocoon Shell Crafts
From Garbage to Art: Empowering Women via Cocoon Shell Crafts

Bhaderwah, 10 October: The recently concluded youth festival, ‘Sangam 2023,’ held in the picturesque region of Bhaderwah, left attendees in awe with an unexpected spectacle: exquisite bouquets of multicoloured flowers, intricate garlands, artistic frames, and captivating art pieces, all meticulously crafted from used and damaged cocoons.

The staff and students of Poonch Campus conceptualised this stunning exhibit, which became a highlight of the legendary youth festival.


Sangam 2023’s Cocoon Craft class was a hit with the event’s dignitaries, attendees, and students because of the uniqueness and ingenuity of the pieces created there. Women who have been actively engaged in this unique trade are empowered by the utilisation of abandoned cocoon shells in the fabrication of these sculptures, which in turn helps to increase the income of local farmers.

The environmental friendliness of this style makes it stand out. The artists are helping their communities survive and tackling environmental issues by making use of discarded cocoon shells. These items are made entirely of biodegradable materials, reflecting the worldwide trend towards environmental consciousness and recycling.

These cocoons used to be thrown away or used just for their protein until recently. But a windswept transformation is happening here. These once-forgotten husks have been reincarnated as colourful pieces of art, giving new life to the dreams of both the students and the cocoon-raising farmers.

Dr. Rubia Bukhari, a professor and the head of the Department of Sericulture at Jammu University’s Poonch Campus, is the creative force behind this groundbreaking initiative. A harsh reality that farmers were losing faith in sericulture as a result of dealers rejecting a sizable portion of their cocoon produce or offering them pitiful rates prompted Dr. Bukhari to take action.

Dr. Bukhari saw the use of these nontraditional resources in artistic undertakings as a way to alleviate the condition of the farmers while also achieving a creative accomplishment. Students are given the opportunity to express their artistic potential in a sustainable and creative manner while also adding value to a byproduct that was previously overlooked: cocoon shells.

“Sitting among cocoons strewn all about us at the campus, my students and I would cut a few shells into different shapes, paint them, and attempt to create beautiful themes for greeting cards and flowers, all in an effort to make use of the abandoned material in a lucrative manner. Dr. Rubia Bukhari observed that the activity eventually developed into a hobby and, subsequently, an artistic competence.

“The way our efforts to use waste cocoons have received rave reviews during Sangam is very encouraging and will surely go a long way in further pursuing our dream to bring a white revolution to Jammu and Kashmir like farmers in Bhaderwah have brought a purple revolution by growing exotic lavender,” stated Rubia.

Dr. Rubia Bukhari wants to see more women involved in the creation of this skill; therefore, she and her colleagues at the Poonch campus have arranged training camps and workshops in a number of villages and on other university campuses.

Students and farmers who have attended cocoon craft classes have renewed optimism in their ability to improve their lives and financial situations.

“We have been rearing silkworms for two decades, but we never thought of using waste cocoons in a profitable way. After attending Dr. Rubia Bukhari’s workshop, I’m sure that our income will increase, and I am confident enough to convince my family to continue sericulture practice,” said Sonia, a silkworm rearer from Poonch.”

I’ve always loved making things by hand, but when I attended the Master of Science in Sericulture programme at Poonch Campus, I discovered a whole new world of artistic possibility. Jyoti Sharma, 22, of Udhampur, expressed gratitude to his professor, Dr. Rubia Bukhari, for this.

“My cocoon craft is being received well, and I’m quite sure that I can earn my livelihood from this medium of art. Besides, I will also train women in my native place, as this is the easiest way to empower women in rural areas.” Khair-un-Nisa (21) is a student at Po

The use of cocoons as a medium for creative expression is unmistakable evidence of a developing art movement. The new art form has limitless potential for growth in the silk-growing districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Reasi, Kathua, Doda, and Anantnag.

Despite widespread adoption of sericulture in the southern Indian states, Kashmiri silk is still regarded as the finest in the nation.



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