Many natural fibres are used by weavers throughout the world. Below is a description of two fibres from harvest to loom.
North East Nepal- Himalayan Nettle (Girardinia Diversifolia locally known as Allo).
The skills used in processing and weaving of Allo has been preserved within households for generations.
The harvest extends from the end of the monsoon in August until December. It’s often a 2 day walk to the allo area, at high altitudes. The harvest takes from 2 to 4 days, with only mature stems being harvested by use of a sickle. The leaves and thorns are rubbed off by hand, using a protective cloth. An incision is made in the stem by teeth, and the inner bark is removed. The outer bark is either processed while green or dried stored for later. It is boiled with water and wood ash and left to simmer until the fire dies out. The fibres are beaten and washed to remove plant matter, coated in clay soil and hung up to dry. The clay stops fibres sticking together allows for easier separation during spinning. When dry, clay rubbed fibres are gently separated and spun on lightweight hand spindles. Most weaving of Allo is performed on a backstrap loom.
Morocco – Agave cactus sub family Agavoideae. Sabra Silk (cactus silk )
Sabra silk is a natural fibre very similar to traditional silk .
It is processed from the long spiky leaves of the Agave cactus which are crushed, hammered and soaked in water to separate fibres and filaments. Fibres are then spun onto spindles and either vegetable or chemical dyes are used to produce the colours.
Treadle looms are used and the weaver must take care when weaving, due to varying thickness of the fibre. Sometimes camel wool, chenille or cotton yarn are used to enhance the natural sheen.
All textiles sourced by Intricate Weave have specific care instructions that should be followed to maintain their longevity.
Beware monitor setup may vary fabric colours slightly when viewing.
Pieces of textile are hand picked by Intricate Weave for their orginality, colour and quality of fabric. These textiles are individual pieces or of a limited quantity.
Each piece has a story to tell that begins with the production of the fibre, design of textile, setting up the loom and the beginning of the weave. Many hours of loom work are dedicated by the male and female weavers to produce these exquisite pieces.
These textiles will give delight in ownership of such a intricate item and thus help a community by providing a source of income. This will help maintain these age old skills from across the generations to continue as they struggle to compete against factory mass production.
It would be a great loss to the world if this art of weaving was lost in time to a mere paragraph in a history book.
Receiving a unique and beautiful item is a wonderful way of contributing to keeping these traditional skills alive.
Intricate weave interacts with cooperatives and remote villages throughout the world to source these exquisite items of weaving.