Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cordage from Plant Sources

Stripping bark from a basswood tree
It was my pleasure to take a class this past weekend where I learned both the sources and techniques for making cords, ropes, and useful fibers from indigenous plants. The workshop was a real treat for me since it hit two of my passions, crafts and plants.

While the workshop focused on Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) cordage techniques, the ability to make cords, thread, and ropes from the raw materials found in the natural world is something that all our ancestors did. It was key to survival because everything from tools to shelters to clothing made use of cords and threads.

Class participants all got some hands-on with bark cordage techniques including how to get raw fibers from dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) stalks and then how to turn those fibers into a very fine and strong cord.  (See a picture of one of my dogbane cords below.)

I took quite a variety of photos and the slideshow can be seen here: Cordage Workshop Slideshow. I hope you enjoy!

Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) Cord