Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Household Arts/Mat Making
South Pacific Division/Island Ed.
|Skill Level Unknown|
|Year of Introduction: Unknown|
1. In your culture name the materials which are used in mat making.
- Coir (coconut fibers)
- Bulrushes (including cattails)
- Rattan (cane)
- Various grasses
- Palm leaves
- Screw pine (Pandanus) leaves
2. Explain and demonstrate how to prepare this material.
Green coconuts, harvested after about six to twelve months on the plant, contain pliable white fibers. Brown fibe is obtained by harvesting fully mature coconuts when the nutritious layer surrounding the seed is ready to be processed into copra and desiccated coconut. The fibrous layer of the fruit is then separated from the hard shell (manually) by driving the fruit down onto a spike to split it (De-husking). A well seasoned husker can manually separate 2,000 coconuts per day. Machines are now available which crush the whole fruit to give the loose fibers. These machines can de-husk up to 2,000 coconuts per hour.
- Brown fiber
The fibrous husks are soaked in pits or in nets in a slow moving body of water to swell and soften the fibers. The long bristle fibers are separated from the shorter mattress fibers underneath the skin of the nut, a process known as wet-milling. The mattress fibers are sifted to remove dirt and other rubbish, dried in the sun and packed into bales. Some mattress fiber is allowed to retain more moisture so that it retains its elasticity for 'twisted' fiber production. The coir fiber is elastic enough to twist without breaking and it holds a curl as though permanently waved. Twisting is done by simply making a rope of the hank of fiber and twisting it using a machine or by hand. The longer bristle fiber is washed in clean water and then dried before being tied into bundles or hunks. It may then be cleaned and 'hacked' by steel combs to straighten the fibers and remove any shorter fiber pieces. Coir bristle fiber can also be bleached and dyed to obtain hanks of different colors.
- White fiber
The immature husks are suspended in a river or water-filled pit for up to ten months. During this time micro-organisms break down the plant tissues surrounding the fibers to loosen them — a process known as reting. Segments of the husk are then beaten by hand to separate out the long fibers which are subsequently dried and cleaned. Cleaned fiber is ready for spinning into yarn using a simple one-handed system or a spinning wheel.
Reeds, Bulrushes, and Grass
Generally, raw rattan is processed into several products to be used as materials in furniture making. The various species of rattan ranges from several millimeters up to 5–7 cm in diameter. From a strand of rattan, the skin is usually peeled off, to be used as rattan weaving material.
3. Name plants that can be used for making dyes in your culture. Tell where they come from and how to prepare them for dying.
The fruit of some rattans exudes a red resin called dragon's blood. This resin was used as a dye for violins, among other things. The resin normally results in a wood with a light peach hue.
Dragon's blood resin is produced from the rattan palms of the genus Daemonorops of the Indonesian islands and known there as jerangs or dejerans. It is gathered by breaking off the layer of red resin encasing the unripe fruit of the rattan. The collected resin is then rolled into solid balls before being sold.