Very few by-products of plants can match that of the humble straw (the dry stalks of cereal plants). In Nepal it is used as fodder for cattle, thatched roofs, building material (when mixed with cow dung and mud), mattresses, storage bins and even kitchenware. A similar story is repeated across several countries where straws are used for a host of other things.
For this course however, you will mostly be weaving them into little baskets. For generations people in Nepal have expressed their creativity by weaving various household items just using straw. Although a dying craft now, Mina, your host keeps the tradition well and alive in her home. To make your basket, you will begin by wetting the straw to make it more pliable to work with. As you begin to notice the straw getting soft, it needs to be split down the center to make for thinner strands which you will then bind and weave. After an hour or so of weaving you will begin to see your product take shape. Feel free to use it as a decorative piece or if you're more utility oriented then it'll make for a good storage bin for some of your stationery. ;)
The straw is also very versatile, and if you're up for making other products, feel free to ask our host!