DFSD is committed to promoting Sri Lankan craft traditions. But some of these are under threat or have been abandoned. The reasons for this are many, including dislocation, lack of markets, and insufficient product innovation.
DFSD’s first project was working with palmyra palm weavers who were struggling to sell their basketry. By focusing on product innovation, contemporary design and quality control, DFSD has helped palmrah palm artisans develop a thriving market in Sri Lanka and beyond.
DFSD has supported Sri Lanka’s small community of highly skilled dumbara weavers who practice an age-old craft that is unique to Sri Lanka. Named after its place of origin near Kandy, dumbara weave is distinguished by its distinctive motifs and technique. By combining dumbara weaving and contemporary design ideas, dumbara artisans now have full order books and a new generation of weavers are being trained.
DFSD is now exploring the possibility of reviving hand-block printing on fabric which was practiced until the 1970s mainly in the Eastern provinces. DFSD is in discussions with local communities and supporters about the best way to proceed. Watch this space for further updates.