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The Weaver

Updated: 6 days ago

I've just published a new video about the weaving fibers provided by Nature in the region where I live. You can view it through my video menu, but for those who prefer to read a regular blog, here it is!

The other day, I found this segment of palm foliage. The weather had worn away much of the surface, leaving the substrate. I thought it looked like loose ribbon weaving, and it made me wonder about the origins of the craft.

Dried palm frond with flowers

It traces back to Neolithic times – approximately 12,000 years ago. Even before weaving as we know it was discovered, early humans interlaced branches and twigs to create fences, and huts and baskets. Rather like this rustic tray I made from dried palm inflorescence.

Handmade palm frond basket

But what was the inspiration for this emergent technology. Was it watching spiders and weaver birds? Perhaps the people of long ago simply found weathered foliage and thought “I can make something with that!”

Because that’s what I do! In the wildlife reserve where I live, there is ample raw material for fibre art.

I love looking at the fibres where the fronds have rotted and fallen from the palm trees.

Palm fibre on trunk

Some form thick mats while others create tiny woven fabrics which are surprisingly strong. I think these are just beautiful and I plan to use them in collage.

Webbed palm fibre on palm tree

Then there are the palm spathes. That’s the thick section which holds the frond on the tree.

Fallen palm frond

They’re my favourites, and I have quite a collection waiting to be used. When they’re freshly fallen, they look like leather,

Palm spathe

and I can use them as vessels like this one which carries a little basket woven from palm inflorescence.

Concertina book and palm spathe art

But when they rot on the ground, the substrate is revealed.

Rotting palm spathes on the ground, ready for artwork

They have their own beauty and I’ve started to use them for weaving small vessels, like this one.

Palm fibre basket with polished stones

Beauty is everywhere if we allow ourselves to see it. Even the dried foliage of a staghorn provides inspiration for a sketch.


Sketch of staghorn

I’ll be working on some new artworks over the next few weeks. But in the interim, I hope this brief glimpse will inspire you to look around and find inspiration in Nature for your own art.


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