Friday, January 22, 2016

Mimbre



Last time I visited Bijagual I was on a hike with Paul Foster (director) and I was telling him how much I love the vines in the rainforest and that it would be interesting to make something with them.  As it turns out Paul studied vines and is interested in bringing in an ethnobotany researcher to study the plants, determine sustainable harvesting levels, and work with women’s groups on possible merchandise and designs.  So on this visit we harvested some mimbre (which means "wicker") as an experiment and I played around with it to see what I could make. 


It turns out mimbre (Heteropsis oblongifolia) is incredibly flexible and was very easy to work with.  I started out by trying to emulate the rock-wrapping I did last summer.  Although I had to work from my memory because we didn't have internet, I thought they turned out pretty well.  The only down side I could see was that the vine smells very strongly like green pepper or kerosene.  I was hoping that the smell would subside over time.  Paul said that it might help to keep insects away as everything degrades or is eaten quickly in this environment.  I also just found this interesting article that suggests the vines can be boiled, washed, scraped and dried as a way to get rid of the bark and any mold that might be growing. 



In addition to the stone wrapping I also made the basket shown below (those are grenadilla fruits - or passionfruit).


I used a bowl as a mold and started with five or six ribs in a star shape.  Then I just went over under over under until I reached my desired height.  If I had to do it over again I would have liked to have a thicker vine for the rim.


It will be interesting to see how this bowl holds up as it dries.  If it is sustainable to harvest the mimbre I will dig out my old basket-weaving books and try some more interesting designs next time I go. 


"A good life is like a weaving. Energy is created in the tension.
The struggle, the pull and tug are everything."

-Joan Erikson



3 comments:

Jodi Christiansen said...

This is wonderful! I really love your wrapped rocks. Bravo!

Christina Wald said...

I love these! The first photo is perfect!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post from a site well-worth visiting. I know nothing about rock wrapping and too much about vines! :-)