Skill development programme : Khirsu, Uttarakhand
This workshop was conducted under a skill development programme by the government. Khirsu has a lot old vernacular stone, mud and wood houses which are abandoned. Under this project, the goal was to activate these old houses as homestays by doing minimal changes and reapplying the mud plaster. Hence we tried a variety of mud plasters with the local villagers. We tried to improvise in the existing plaster techniques and proportions with the villagers so that they can take up the learnings to modify the existing old houses themselves.
A variety of mud plaster samples were tested with different natural pigments and binding agents. The natural pigments included the haldi which is one of the most prominent local produce of the village, locally available red and blue pigment powders. The binding materials tried out were cement, white cement, lime powder and jaggery water, laai (sticky paste made out of flour) and gobar. Locally cut pine grass was used as a reinforcing material. The plaster samples were done in 3 coats. First being a simple mud, gobar, grass mixture. Next two coats were done with a combination of different binding materials and colour pigments. A final coat of laai was done on all plasters.