09 Mar Nepalese Himalayan Nettle
Natural Fiber hand-loomed fashion item.
The Himalayan Nettle ( Girardinia Diversifolia known in East Nepal as Allo) grows in the Himalayas at an elevation of 1500 to 3000 meters.
It’s a self perpetuating shade tolerant plant and grows well under the forest canopy. The Nepalese people prize the Himalayan nettle for it’s medicinal uses and value as a hardy natural fiber.
The harvest of Allo is very labor intensive and begins in August extending thru to December.The process takes 2 to 4 days. For the village women it is often a strenuous 2 day walk at high altitude to reach the harvest region.
With the aid of sickle and cloth to protect their hands they harvest the mature stems. The women rub off the thorns and leaves by hand with a protective cloth and make an incision and remove the inner bark. They strip off the bark and either process it green or dry the bark .The women process the outer bark by boiling water with wood ash and leave to simmer until fire dies out. The women then beat the fibers and wash out plant matter to remove the coated clay. The clay prevents the fibers from sticking together allows for easier separation during spinning.
The women rub the clay off the dried fibers and then spin the fiber onto light weight spindles. Once this is complete its ready for the backstrap looms.
These days to aid rural communities The ” Himalayan Wild Fibers”
company now processes the harvested fibers and brings money to aid improved living conditions in rural villages. Not only does it provide jobs for processing the fibers but also injects money into the villages by purchasing the harvest. www.himalayanwildfibers.com
The women loom the allo into fashion accessories such as shawls and scarves in natural colours.
The Allo combines cotton , banana leaf which has a wool like texture for hat’s and gloves.
As it’s a strong, hard wearing fiber it’s often used in material blends for sofas and cushions. In Europe it’s blended into a denim fabric.
Enjoy the range of hand-loomed Allo in the Nepal shop of the Intricate Weave website.