Sea Grass, Bark Cloth and Forest Life

A Girl in the Forest

As you may have guessed, the highlight of our last sourcing journey was the time we spent in Eheng Village on the island of Borneo (Kalimantan).  We were graciously invited to stay and experience the beautiful culture and rhythms of  Dayak life.  Children walking to and from school, domesticated livestock and adventures into nearby forest plots were all part of our experience.

Each rice plot is designated for use by a family and a rotation systems allow the land to lay fallow, keeping it fertile for many generations.

        

I spotted the young girl with the machete walking with her friends from school.  When I asked what it was for, she replied in a very matter of fact way, “for clearing the way in the forest”.  So I’m thinking to myself she really knows how to use this thing.  A girl after my own heart!  

We captured this aerial view, and I hope you get the sense of how connected village life is to the forest where food, and many materials that sustain daily life are still traditionally sourced.

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Sea Grass

   

Aspen rattan and sea grass bag Purse for the People

Our Aspen Bag with Sea Grass Accents

Sea grass or “salt-water-grass” is yet another beautiful fiber from the forest.  It grows on the riverbanks or estuary areas in brackish waters.  This is not to be confused with sea grass that grows on the ocean floor. The leaves of the grass can grow to be approximately 10 feet. They are typically somewhat tended by the farmers that harvest the materials and once processed are twisted or braided into various diameters for weaving.  It is often mixed with other woven materials to create beautiful accents.

Known by the scientific world as Rhynchospora Corymbosa, this versatile plant grows and is used globally throughout tropical regions.  Check out this video from West Elm that shows how Sea Grass is harvested and made into beautiful natural products.

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Bark Cloth

Bark Cloth is a versatile material that was once common in Asia, Africa, Indonesia, and the Pacific. Bark Cloth comes primarily from trees of the Moraceaefamily, including Broussonetia papyriferaArtocarpus altilis, Ficus benghalensis and Ficus natalensis. It is made by beating sodden strips of the fibrous inner bark of these trees into sheets, which are then finished into a variety of items.

“Love the Earth”

Bag By Cinta Bumi Artisans

Find more about Bark Cloth here from our NGO partner NTFP (Non-timber Forest Products)

Large Banyan Tree: A Source of Bark Cloth

Thanks for joining us on this epic journey and learning of the wonders of the forest.  Yes and there’s more, but we’re still deciding what to write about next.  We’ll surprise you!