Apprentice Program

In 2018 we started a cane weaving apprentice program as an experiment. It's unexpected success prompted us to expand the program to carpentry and polishing.

Cane is segregated by width of the strand and made into bundles by the junior weavers.


In 2018, due to a shortage of cane weavers from traditional weaving communities, we took in a few young apprentices and put them under the mentorship of the senior weavers. Our expectation was that they would learn a few basic skills and assist the experienced weavers. Much to our surprise, the apprentices not only learnt basic skills in peeling and preparing material, but picked up more complex weaving techniques. In a few months they could weave an entire seat or back on their own.

Learning to thread the cane through the holes in the frame.

The Apprentice Team

Over ten young cane weavers who joined as apprentices are now our full time employees. Their skill is on par with, if not better than, the community based weavers who work for us. The program has helped them acquire a specialised craft skill that can give them a livelihood as long as cane furniture is made. Additionally, it is a potential means of preserving and propagating the intricate craft of cane weaving beyond traditional communities.

Madhav, who joined Phantom Hands in the packing department, became obsessed with learning cane weaving and left us with no choice but to make him an apprentice. Today, he is one of our best weavers.
Apprentices learn how to use blades, wooden pegs and other improvised tools to help them with the weaving process.
Pavithra, who joined our team from the apprentice program has now become a trainer for new apprentices.

Expanding the program

Young apprentices join the cane weaving program regularly. The interest it has garnered, and the success it has achieved, encouraged us to expand the program to carpentry and wood polishing.

Carpentry apprentice in his first week of training.
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Read about Carpentry
Read about Cane Weaving
Read about Upholstery
Read about Wood Finishing
Read about QC & Packing
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