Crafts: The various handiworks wrought in Ika are produced essentially for use and to meet the daily needs of the people. Some of these articles possess artistic qualities which enhance their attraction and market value. The local craftsmanship includes cloth-weaving, mat-making, pottery, smithery, and basketry, especially in the olden days.
Cloth weaving centered mainly in many parts of Ika in the olden days. Then, all the clothes were hand-woven by women. This craft is becoming a thing of the past in Ika nowadays.
Weaving is an ancient craft in Ika culture. In the olden days, women wore stripes of coarsed cloths which were hand-woven from ede fibres. In the olden days, ede plants were abundant in Ika forests. They grew wildly and women usually went to cut them from the forests. The bark of ede plant contains fabric-like materials out of which threads for weaving could be made.
The plants were collected, split, soaked in water and boiled in order to remove the rough portions. They were dried in the sun and at that stage the substance looked like flakes. The weaver took them in bits to produce threads arranged in bundles. With needles, they were woven into cloths, loin-cloths, bags, etc. The ede woven cloths and materials were very durable.
Subsequently, cotton weaving was introduced when cotton plants were grown in their farms. When the women were not employed with the men in the farm, their usual hobby was spinning with locally made spindles and weaving cotton. Dyes were made out of barks of some trees which were carefully squeezed after certain processes. These cotton woven cloths were made into different types of durable and beautiful garments.
Mats are still produced in many villages in Igbodo and Ute kingdoms in Ika. Mat-making is traditionally a female occupation.In the olden days, Ika people carved wood panel doors which were used in their buildings. They also carved wooden ash-trays, ladles, mortar, pestle, calabash, etc.Baskets are made extensively in Ika. The basic raw materials are obtained from palm branches and canes (ogan).Previously, the ogan twigs were the only raw material, but this is now out of Ika bushes. Basket products include farmers’ wicker baskets, domestic baskets, waste paper baskets and fishing baskets by those living near the streams.
Blacksmith: Good blacksmiths are found in some parts of Ika. They provide farmers with cutlasses, hoes; housewives with such articles as kitchen knives, pins; and rich customers with iron gates and wrought iron windows.
Soap making: In the olden days, women gathered branches of trees and plants like efume, or igbefu, materials like esuke, plantain peels, husks of palm kernel, etc. whose ashes contained caustic soda, burnt them into ashes and processed the substance into soap. This was done by getting a clay pot slightly perforated in the bottom, on top of which is built a heap, and under such pot, another pot was set inside the heap. The top was the filter. A layer of sand and the caustic soda ashes were put in, and then the salty water is allowed to filter through. The filtrate was then withdrawn, processed and mixed with oil to make soap.
Fishing: A few people living very close to the streams engage in fishing. Fishing did not, and up till now, does not provide an important employment for Ika people. It has been carried out on part time basis. These people have little kind of fishing craft and techniques.
In Ika community culture, many people engage in a varietyof small-scale enterprises both industrial and science like:Bicycle and motor-cycle repairing.Building of furniture and interior decorations.Motor mechanics.Shoe repairing.Welding.Saw milling.Oil palm maintenance and milling.Radio and Television mechanics.Carpentry.Laundry and dry cleaning.Concrete block making.Block/brick laying and Plastering.Cassava milling.Knitting and tailoring.Soda soap making.Paid labour.Palm kernel crushing.Fishery.Piggery.Driving.Hotel and catering services.Hair dressing.Entertainment services.Machinery and equipmentrental and leasing.Canopies and chair hiring services.White-collar jobs.Banking.Trading.Religion, and so on.Concluded.
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: LAND AND EARNING OF LIVELIHOOD IN IKA CULTURE