As many of you will know, women all across the Pacific nations are renowned for their weaving skills and with good reason, as they are frequently practicing their skills. However, weaving isn’t always a past time or hobby, in most cases it is a necessity. Weaving is utilised to provide sleeping mats, baskets for carrying produce from gardens, to cover the bare earth that is the floor of some homes and of course fine mats are notably provided as special gifts at important occasions, such as weddings.
It was a natural progression that when the ni-Vanuatu RSE workers saw the discarded industrial waste, their vision was sparked. To create something useful out of rubbish. In their own time, they begun. One of the expert weavers that I met 2 years ago, is Netty. She is highly skilled, there are no doubts. It would take up to 8 hours to create a large shopping basket with up to 150 strands of strapping tape being worked with at one time.
For the past two seasons, many baskets have been created from industrial strapping tape – used in many commercial facilities for a variety of uses. Alas, strapping tape is not that easy to work with; not as pliable as the tradition soft plant material from the pandanus trees in Vanuatu, and hard on the hands. However the ladies persevered. The baskets have been sold all over the Nelson region and some really positive media coverage was given. All the funds collected have been distributed back to the weavers or directly to their island for the use of community projects.
The baskets themselves are very durable. One of the many that are in use all around my own home, is used as a peg basket, has been sitting outside in all weathers for almost 2 years and not surprisingly, looks brand new. A sad but true result of plastic that won’t break down in our landfills! Their uses are endless – just use your imagination as to how you can make use of one of these baskets.
We still have a few of these baskets remaining. Come and see me, Belinda at the Nelson or Motueka market or contact me and support this project.
Save our local land-fill and pay it forward in Vanuatu.