For thousands of years, people all over the world have been weaving seagrass. Some experts believe the use of seagrass in weaving objects could go back as far as 10,000 years.
Seagrass is exactly as the name implies, a grass that grows in the sea or in areas that have saltwater. As Vietnam has access to a lot of tropical oceans, seagrass is abundant in Vietnam. A lot of the seagrass used for manufacturing home decor products is farmed to be cut and processed specifically for seagrass weaving. This seagrass is cut, dried, spun, dyed, and then woven into many different items, including baskets, lampshades, furniture, and area rugs. But seagrass also has some great eco-friendly properties that make it a great alternative to plastic.
Here is a video to show some different kinds of weaving. Weaving baskets and other items are truly hand-made.
What is Seagrass?
Seagrass is an actual grass that grows in the sea or salt water. In many places in Vietnam, it goes more inland in some marshy waterways with salt from the ocean water.
Here are a few facts about seagrass:
- Grass with a root – Seagrass is a grass similar to the kind of grass that may grow on your front lawn. Seagrass has an actual root to it in that the root grows into the bottom of the ocean or waterways.
- Found in Swallow Waters – Seagrass can be found in the ocean and shallow waterways near the shore. But it must have salt in the water for it to grow.
- Found all over the world – Seagrass is found worldwide, from abundance in tropical waters as in parts of Vietnam to the water areas near the North Pole.
- Long Green leaves and flowers – Seagrass has long green leaves, but it also has roots, flowers, and even fruits and other seeds. Many of these long leaves will shoot up out of the water. In fact, you can tell the seagrass as it has small flowers on it.
- Can be confused with seaweed – Some people confuse seagrass with seaweed, but the two are very different in that the seaweed does not hold fast with roots underground, nor does the seaweed have flowers as the seagrass has.
- There are many kinds of species – Seagrass has a variety of species. In fact, Vietnam alone has over 14 different species of seagrass.
- Seagrass provides food – Seagrass can provide food for other sea wildlife such a fish and marine organisms. Thus, seagrass is often used as a measure for scientists to check to see how healthy the ocean system.
- Grows Abundantly in Vietnam – One place seagrass continues to grow abundantly is in Vietnam and parts of North Vietnam. The seagrass there will shoot up out of the salty water beneath it so that it can be cut and dried to be used for weaving. These areas where the seagrass grows so abundantly is known as seagrass beds. Some of these seagrass beds are so large they can be seen from outer space.
- Seagrass is a fast-growing plant – Seagrass, especially seagrass found in tropical areas like Vietnam is a fast-growing plant.
Supports Entire Communities
Seagrass production helps to support entire communities in North Vietnam. The reason is there are many stages involved in seagrass production.
Here are some of the stages of seagrass production and how it supports the local communities:
- Farmers – Many farmers grow seagrass specifically for the production of the weaving of handicraft products. These farmers harvest seagrass that is long and naturally white and free from black spots caused by stem bores. This is important to ensure the material does not have a lot of spots or faults on it.
- Drying Seagrass – Others are involved in ensuring the seagrass dries properly. Once cut, the grass must be dried. If it is not dried, it cannot be used for home decor or home furniture production.
- Spinning and Dyeing – A lot of the dried seagrasses is then spun or twisted to give them a rope-like quality. Though it does not have to be made into a rope, many seagrass production kinds will use a seagrass rope for weaving. Seagrass can also be dyed into a variety of colors.
Helping Women in Vietnam
A lot of weaving of seagrass products in Vietnam is done at home and by women. These women’s husbands are usually farmers, and they need this extra income to help their family’s economic situation. The weaving of the baskets and other products allows these women to stay at home and tend to their families, small gardens, and domestic livestock while earning some much needed extra income.
In reality, these women have their own home-based businesses, as so many women worldwide have. At Mondoro, we strive to collaborate in manufacturing that specifically helps women. This is one reason we love the weaving of items like seagrass baskets, as this helps women to be able to stay home while earning an income.
Eco-friendly Alternative to Plastic
There is no doubt that plastic is quickly killing our environment. We are constantly using plastic from the plastic bottles we drink from and the plastic bags we use to do our shopping.
Materials like seagrass are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. They are not only lightweight but also are biodegradable. Plastic will take a long time to degrade; seagrass and other natural fibers will degrade very quickly. This makes seagrass a great eco-friendly choice and alternative to plastic.
Seagrass for Weaving Home Decor Products
Once the seagrass is cut, it needs to be prepared to weave baskets and other products.
Here is some information about seagrass for weaving products:
- Seagrass Must Be Dried – The seagrass used for weaving baskets must be dried properly before it can be used for weaving. If it is not dried properly, this can cause other issues in the production.
- Seagrass Can Be Spun – Many seagrasses are spun or twisted into a rope and then woven.
- Seagrass Can Be Left Unspun- Seagrass can also be woven with the natural leaf.
- Seagrass Can Be Dyed – One of the great benefits of seagrass is that it can be dyed into various colors. This gives it a great look for a lot of home decor products.
- Seagrass Can Be Painted – Your seagrass baskets can also be painted. Many times designers will paint them to add some color or to add a design to them.
Use of Seagrass Materials for Home Decor Products
There are a lot of ways that you can use seagrass for home decor and home furniture production.
Here are some of the more common ways it can be used:
- Baskets – Certainly, one of the top ways it can be used in home decor production is basket production. A lot of seagrass material is used in home decor for baskets production. This is because seagrass not only can be dyed in a lot of colorways, but it also weaves up a very nice looking basket.
- Lampshades and Lighting – Seagrass can also be used for a variety of lampshades and lighting products.
- Furniture – We can use seagrass to weave some furniture items; in fact, seagrass has been used for centuries as a seating material for chairs.
- Mirrors and Wall Art – As seagrass can be woven on a frame, you can also use it for wall art and mirrors. This is a great way to give a nice natural look to your wall decor.
- Area Rugs – One of the great ways seagrass is used is for all kinds of woven area rugs. These rugs can give the home a very natural look and feel.
As natural materials continue to be one of the home decor and home furniture trends, there is little doubt that seagrass will continue to lay a role with this trend; not only is seagrass eco-friendly, it is also a great alternative to plastic. It is simply that seagrass is a versatile material that is very beautiful when woven up in various products.
If you are interested in developing and manufacturing some seagrass products for your home decor collection, please feel free to contact Anita here. Or you can also click here to email Anita directly. We would love to hear from you and see how we can help you.
How to Clean A Seagrass Rug?
A seagrass rug is a great natural addition to your home.
Here ways you can clean a seagrass rug:
- Vacuum The Rug Regularly – A seagrass rug needs to be vacuumed regularly with a suction brush. It is good to do this a few times a week.
- Scrap off Spills – If you spill something on the seagrass rug, then try first to scrap it off the rug as much as you can. Then also try to vacuum clean off the area,
- Clean Up Liquid With A Paper Towel – Clean up any spilled liquid with a paper towel
- Wash the Area – You can also wash the area of the spillage. Some soap is a liquid dish soap as dawn or baby shampoo in some water to clean up with a towel to wash the area mix. Try to get the rug as dry as possible. You can try to dry the air with a blow dryer to get the area completely dry.
To find out more about how to clean a seagrass rug here is some very good information on how to clean a seagrass rug.
What is the difference between water hyacinth and seagrass materials?
Water hyacinth is a natural material that grows in the waterways. It usually floats on top of the water and needs to have freshwater or river water. You can read more about water hyacinth by reading our blog About Weaving Water Hyacinth Baskets Into Home Décor Products by clicking here.
Seagrass is not the same kind of material as water hyacinth, though, at times, they can look similar. Seagrass is a grass that must have saltwater for it to grow.