Material: Paper Mulberry wood and silk
A range of fabrics which show the fascinating qualities of this material and its different applications. The presented wooden fabrics differ in thickness, type of threads and natural dyed colour. A collection which will only continue to expand. By showing these qualities, the collection adds a new material to the libraries of interior architects and designers.
The basis for this ancient handicraft is the cambium of the paper mulberry tree, a thin layer of fibers between the bark and the wood of the tree. After harvesting the tree, Tongan women soak the cambium to beat the fibers to small cloths. In this process, they only use hardwood tools and a minimal amount of water. Then, they glue different cloths together using the starch of potatoes. This way they create tapa, a soft and flexible wooden cloth which Tongans use for rituals like weddings and funerals.
These wooden cloths have a fascinating beauty but lack the practical qualities needed for contemporary use. That is why buroBELÉN enriches these wooden cloths through industrial European techniques of textile processing. First, she embroideres wooden cloths with threads of silk from the mulberry silkworm, which eats the leaves of the tree. This treatment gives the wooden cloths the firmness of textile. Then, they are washed to dissolve the adhesive starch. Finally, there is the possibility to dye them with natural colours and they are given a finishing touch. In this process, ancient craft and modern industry come together to give this new material the right textile qualities for contemporary use.
Apart from adding a new type of esthetics to interiors, buroBELÉN also promotes values of cultural diversity and sustainability. This means that each textile contributes to the conservation of the acient handicraft in Tonga, while simultaneously stimulating local economy in the Pacific Ocean. Also, WOODEN TEXTILES offer a sustainable alternative to industrial textiles because of its clean production process.
Concept and Design: buroBELÉN
Development: buroBELÉN, women of Tonga, Union AG, Textiellab Photography: buroBELÉN
Special thanks to: