And one such craftsman has taken the art of bamboo weaving to a whole new level.
Danish architect Soren Korsgaard designed a bamboo house to promote bamboo as a sustainable building material. And while many have used bamboo poles to construct, what makes Korsgaard’s design so unusual and eye-catching is that the house is not quite constructed. Rather, it is a woven bamboo house.
For centuries bamboo weaving has provided everything from kitchenware to farm tools and the craft is a sacred one that is passed down from generation to generation. The uses of bamboo and its resources were explored as early as seven thousand years ago. In China, certain areas such as Jiang’an and Dongyang are well known for the bamboo weaving. These areas, rich in bamboo, have fostered a distinctive tradition of choosing bamboo-related jobs.
The craft of bamboo weaving was one that was passed on from master to apprentice. Apprentices usually spent three years training, beginning by simple repairs of products and graduating to their intricate designs. To practice their handmade craft, bamboo craftsmen cleaved the bamboos into flat or thin bamboo strips of different sizes. According to the product that is being made, bamboo was cut into sections and split into vertical halves. The bamboo joints were then smoothed out and the halves were cleaved into strips. Afterwards, the green scarfskin and inner yellow surface were removed and the strips were cut into thinner strips, layer by layer. The strips could be divided into seven or eight layers. After this basic procedure, there were a variety of ways to go depending on the product design. Boiling might be required to finalize the shape and to soften the strips so they wouldn’t crack when they went through the plane. The strips were put through a plane to ensure the same thickness and width. Additionally, dyeing, plating and polishing procedures could be applied to the bamboo strips.
However, as important as bamboo weaving is in the keeping of traditions, it was modern weaving techniques that allowed Korsgaard to design his unique and eco-friendly home. His woven house is an attempt to take the tradition of bamboo weaving and use it in modern architecture in a much larger scale than has been done before. Because of the unique flexibility and strength of bamboo, the walls, floors and ceilings of this house flow into one continuous surface giving one an unique architectural experience. To make this home as eco-friendly as possible, it should be constructed onsite in a region where there is a tradition of weaving so as to avoid the pollution of transport.
And while we might be lacking in masters to teach the art of bamboo weaving, perhaps we can take a lesson from the birds as Korsgaard did. His intent was to build the house as the birds did, weaving their nests from the materials available to build a home for themselves.
For more on how bamboo is being used throughout the world, visit Green Earth News section on Bamboo Trends.
Bamboo is such an incredible resource, its remarkable qualities have made it ever so popular in the textile industry as well. From bamboo socks to bamboo clothes for men and bamboo clothing for women, its soft absorbent characteristics make it a desirable fabric choice.