Sunday, January 3, 2010

the home of burlap

I enjoy working with many textiles, but burlap is definitely what I'm known for. Although there are numerous sources (garden supply stores, big box fabric shops like JoAnne 's), I work exclusively with repurposed coffee sacks. It began as an exercise in reinvention, but soon turned into a love affair with this rugged and durable material. Burlap is created from the plant fibers of jute, a rain-fed crop which needs very little fertilizer or pesticides to grow. It's the most economical of all green fabrics- recycling it makes its tiny eco footprint even smaller! Jute has a long history in India and Bangladesh, where almost all burlap comes from today. When my mother and sister embarked on their recent odyssey to India, my one request was for photos of burlap in its homeland! Their adventures were amazing, their photos thrilling. As promised, I'll be sharing some of it with you. I thought we'd begin with some images that of this versatile textile...

Boxes are wrapped with burlap for strength and reinforcement before traveling.
Sacks carrying assorted goods are transported on heads with little burlap cushions to soften and anchor the weight.

Most baskets in market places are lined with it, like the one above filled with roasted pumpkin seeds. Not shown, but my mother was very impressed with how milk cans are wrapped in wet burlap for insulation when they're transported by bicycle. Below are two market totes brought back to the states.

I find printing on burlap both satisfying and challenging. I loved examining the beautiful craftsmanship of these.


My appreciation of burlap grows daily... oh yes! Pin It

29 comments:

  1. ooh.... mine too, mine too! I have fallen in love with burlap myself. Due, no doubt, to your beautiful wares made with it Maya. How exciting that your mom and sis made the journey and how exciting to see & learn more about this humble but, rich fabric. Those bags are so pretty.....I do love Indian colors and textiles, etc. Thanks for sharing this with us hun!
    xo
    Melis

    ReplyDelete
  2. just beautiful! it's amazing how important burlap is in other parts of the world, and how it's become mostly decorative here. i'd love to hear more about your mom and sister's trip!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ooh, those bags are really gorgeous. i'd be interested to see what fun new projects you'll be up to in 2010 :) ~Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  4. love your post. love the burlap too. so great to see it used so many new ways. love the colorful prints. i have been following christine through india too. love the idea of photos of burlap in india can't wait to see what you bring us next. happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Maya Made - I am totally loving those printed bags - beautiful!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful! Love what you do with burlap. Any recommendations on where I could get some sacks?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for sharing such beautiful mages.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That was really informative as well as beautiful! Thanks for letting us know a bit more about burlap as I was wondering about it myself!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Maya :)
    Thanks for sharing such a great post with us. And a big thank you to your mom & sister who took all these beautiful photos ! I'm looking forward to new MayaMade creations in 2010 !! :) Big hugs my friend ! oxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  10. Those printed sacks are amazing! It's was interesting to see burlap in it's "home environment", now I want to get some of those rice sacks to deconstruct!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a lovely ode to burlap. Who knew?!

    ReplyDelete
  12. so interesting to learn that burlap is a very GREEN fabric! this was a great post, maya!

    ReplyDelete
  13. How beautiful! I can see why you love burlap. It has such a beautiful texture to it -gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I, too, would like to know where you get your sacks from. A local coffee shop? And do you wash burlap at all before printing? I heard fraying is a real issue, and I also know from a recent experiment...
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. The printing on those bags is so pretty! I didn't realize it was such a green fabric. Very cool!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I source all my sacks from a local organic/fair-trade roaster. I air my sacks... washing increases fraying and changes the texture of burlap. I recommend spot cleaning and light hand washing. Most graphics on coffee sacks are not permanent and will disappear with even one stop in a washing machine.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Maya....as I sip my chai and look at these photos Im transported back to India!! I love the selection you chose.

    ReplyDelete
  18. i think you have helped us all see burlap in a whole new way
    love those colorful patterns on the shopping sacs.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Beautiful, beautiful images.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love all the burlap in India. Really interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow, the print on the burlap is so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for sharing all about burlap - it was really informative and how wonderful for you to re-use this resource.
    Warm wishes,
    Tonya

    ReplyDelete
  23. The printed burlap totes are really beautiful for such a rustic fabric. I'm enjoying the photos of India.

    Jody

    ReplyDelete
  24. Fantastic. So did they bring you back tons of burlap coffee bags?

    ReplyDelete
  25. There is just so much you can do with burlap. I've always like burlap and those bags you brought back are beautiful. I've seen a lot of really pretty things on ETSY using burlap and all of them are pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Any tips on keeping the burlap from fraying? I have burlap rice bags that I'm trying to repurpose into tote bags, but the edges keep fraying. Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I can see why you won for best green blog. These photos of burlap and India are so inspiring. As a yogi, India holds a dear spot and now you've turned me on to the design aspect too. I'm booking the ticket!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love all the pics from India... so beautiful and such an offering to share... I also wanted to say Happy Birthday! :) I love how your daughter is hugging your heart in your most recent pic.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails