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!