Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dracena draco, banana fiber, and basswood or linden fiber

During my winter break from school, I started working on something new.  I was inspired by this beautiful fairy dress. I wish I knew who the artist was.  Unfortunately, nothing showed up on a google search.
I started off by preparing some dracena draco leaves by boiling them in a water and glycerin solution.  Hopefully, that will keep the orange tips from breaking off.  I twined the bodice with more dracena draco strips and banana fiber strips.

When I got near the waist, I started adding some inner basswood bark pieces vertically, to fill out the skirt, and twined with it.  It's a very messy fiber for twining, and I was getting frustrated with the slowness.  

For more info on collecting and retting basswood: 
I pretty much followed the same method, but soaked my bark in large plastic containers for a month and longer.  The author shows how to make cordage with the basswood fiber, also.

Mari Yamaguchi Newell shows the Japanese method for making basswood/linden string, which is much more labor intensive.

 I settled for in between, since I am a beginning spinner.  I shredded the inner basswood into 1/4" wide lengths, and tied them together to make very long weavers.  In many places, you can see where I left the knots exposed.   This was much easier to work with, so I continued twining, and then went to an open weave for the lower portion.  
On the spinning wheel
Twining with basswood cordage

Now I need a title.  I'm thinking of something w/ flame and dress.  Any suggestions?


  1. Thanks Susi and Jonathan! The jury is still out on the name. I have since changed the presentation, but I'm not sure I like it yet.