The raffia we use in our studio originates from a palm tree native to Madagascar, the Raffia palms (Raphia) are known for their remarkably long leaves, the longest in the plant kingdom. One species, R. regalis has leaves up to 25 meters long. It is a sustainable crop and easy to work with in that it is soft and non-fibrous (like sisal).
Over the years we have developed many applications in our fabrics, carpets, placemats and lampshades using raffia. There are many possibilites when working with it: it responds well to dye, is robust and strong, can be plied up for carpets, can be crocheted easily, it is also washable, makes good upholstery – especially headboards and ottomans.
This week we have completed a raffia carpet to be used as a runner in a passage, it uses our Zen design and is simple and lets the natural raffia present itself. Raffia carpets do not last as well as mohair or cotton, but they are quite irresistable.
We are also in the midst of creating a selection of very large lampshades for a client using two different colours – a chocolate brown and a mid-khaki. These are turning out to be quite spectacular, and I cannot wait to see them completed.
In addition, Goodness has been weaving raffia table runners which are generous in size and whizz off our shop shelves.