Saturday, 22 September 2012

fibre plants

 On my recent trip to London I visited the Chelsea Physic Garden where I found information about fibre plants.The first photo shows ropes made from various plant fibres: they were Flax and Sisal. Flax is one of the oldest fibre plants, its use to make linen goes back to at least ancient Egyptian times. Parts of the plant are also used to make cloths, dye , paper and fabric. The fibre is extracted from the bast of the stem. It is soft, lustrous and flexible.[ See an interesting article on eco interiors from the Telegraph on the web, also look at  for more  information on both plant and animal fibres.]
Sisal is an agave that produces stiff fibres that are used in the making of rope, mats and even dartboards! Brazil is the main producer of sisal, during production the leaves are beaten with a rotating wheel with blunt knives to leave only the fibre. Sisal is used to make speciality papers, can take certain dyes and is used in macrame. Sisal is also used for example in Maharashtra, India to make bags and mats which last a long time and don't need any special care. See the website>Leaf, Fibre & Stem for fascinatind details about Indian crafts using natural fibres.

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