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twining/cording with natural fibers

last winter i came across a short tutorial by zak foster on instagram on how to twine fibers into a cord, which, curious as i am, i needed to try right away. it’s an easy way to keep your fingers busy basically anywhere. i find it a very calming practice, as my fingers tend to search for things to fiddle around with (anything in my pockets, stuff i find an keep in my hands, surfaces i like the feel of,…). now i seem to have developed a habit of finding out if fibers cord well or not, and it somehow also feeds my foraging habit, not only trying to collect plants that yield dye, but also fibers that may or may not cord. my recent discovery are spider plant leaves (chlorophytum comosum) – i have several pots of them in my flat, and it turns out the dried leaves that i usually just throw away make a nice material for twining. foraging at home, how nice is that?!

my first experiments looked like this…

after learning that dandelion stems also make nice material for cording, i collected a bunch to dry them at home once they had bloomed and grown long stems.

turns out our clothes rack works really well for drying plant fibers

other fibers i have tried are rhubarb, rush, various grass species, of course it also works with thread

here’s some dried rush waiting to be rehydreted and corded

i don’t know where this will lead me, but it’s a nice way to play around with ideas, texture, materials, being present in nature, it sharpens my view of plants. and i also find it a very practical skill – making rope, twine, quickly tying something together, a bunch of flowers, closing a bag, wrapping a present…

if you want to have a try yourself, here’s a short tutorial i recorded in summer. let me know if you give it a go!

and a few more random inages of cordage experiments

and one quick last word on foraging – make sure you wait until the plants had a chance to let go of their seeds, don’t take too many from the same place, make sure the plants are not under any kind of protection or conservation status, make sure they are not harmful or toxic, and give thanks to nature when you take plants with you.

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