Saturday, June 30, 2012

Look What I Made!

For days now the rain has been coming down, well, sideways, by the bucket with little bursts of sunshine in between that are just long enough to lour us out of doors.   We are allowed, for a brief moment, to think that we might actually get something substantial done in the garden, only to be driven back inside by hurricane winds five minutes later. 
Flax Plant

I've decided to make good use of my indoor time this winter by taking a flax weaving course.  Flax (unrelated to the flax seeds we eat) is a native to New Zealand.  It is revered in Maori culture for its fibre and medicinal uses.  It seems that flax can be made into just about anything-baskets, mats, clothing, shelters, ropes, shoes, fishing lines.  Though it's not as heavily relied upon for daily life, flax weaving is still popular today.  Different varieties grow all over the island so material for weaving is plentiful and easily harvested.  There is a particular protocol or tikanga surrounding the gathering and weaving of flax.  I have found that learning this protocol is important, not just because of traditions and taboos, but following it helps the plant in its regrowth, encourages progress, and also protects the weaver.  Apparently, even just a bit of the sap from the plant can be a strong laxative.  I'd rather not experiment.  I'm not sure how I feel about the idea that once a weaving project has been started it must be completed.  Not really my style, but probably something I should work on in many areas of my life.