Thursday, 10 January 2008

sustainability?=corn husks

Thanks for those thoughts on hair. In New Giunea certain men make a whole head of hair from their plucked and saved hair and then it is worn on special occasions. It indicates a certain level of maturity and access to mens rituals. It fits on the head like a bycycle helmet and it probably just as protective.
It is often hightly decorated with colourful flowers, feathers, fruit, anything at all.
Live hair carries the power of the wearer but once it has become detached from the owners body then it takes on meanings of extremes. This image is a hair vessel using 18 years of saved hair and stitched with fine linen thread.
However corn husks which should be abundant in South Africa given that corn is the staple are a very sustainable fibre.
The husk is peeled and dried then it can be dyed or left natural, then shredded into working strands 2 or 3 centimetres broad.
Dampening it for use makes it easy to manipulate.It is equal to any other fibre and cost would be zero.
Perhaps it is already in use but I did not see it as such. I have suggested to Hlwenge Dube to encourage some of the women to experiment with it. Women crafters in Soweto would have access to corn husks and mealie bags for stitching.
Native American women have used corn husks for baskets, masks and other paraphanalia for generations.
So perhaps we will see more corn and less husks in the near future.
Meanwhile it has been a bumper year for Fodder after the drastic shortage of it last season and I am about to collect some high quality bales from a farmer in the south.

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