Flax - the Fibre of the Future - Nov 2006


“It’s plentiful, it’s beautiful, it strips down easily and it can be as fine as silk,” says Mangamahu flax weaver Mere Keating.

Mere held a flax weaving class at the Josephite Retreat Centre last weekend. The class was part of the centre’s community education programme and attracted five keen students, all novices at flax weaving. They first learned the basics of cutting the flax and processing it for weaving, then each began by making a kono traditionally a food basket. On the second day they progressed to items such as hats and bag holders.

“It was interesting watching them master the various techniques of weaving,” says Mere, “such as learning how to make corners. Some people are methodical and some creative, so people approach the craft in different ways. I was impressed with the level of learning of all the students. We had a great time together and they all want to learn more. The Retreat Centre is such a lovely spot, as well. It’s so peaceful.”

Mere says she’s always been interested in fashion, style and design and has her own flax weaving brand, ‘Mere Made’. She’s mainly self taught, but has often sat in with other weavers and learned new techniques. She believes flax to be the fibre of the future as it’s so versatile. “It can be used for weaving, for clothing even for rope,” she says. “And it’s free at the moment. I just hope it stays that way!”

Courtesy of River City Press 2/11/06

Gallery / Whakaahua

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