Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Working with Banana bark materials





The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a "corm"
The plant is propagated by roots or from suckers and takes one year to reach maturity. When the mature fruit is about 12 months old, it is cut directly from the tree in a green condition.



But I am not here to talk about the banana fruit which I love to eat in many different form but the bark which to so many is useless.
Since I have been in Haiti for the past 6 months, I visited so many places to look for different materials to include in my designs and to help empower women in certain areas in need of development.
  In the South East of Haiti there is an area where I found and feel that it is imperative to support and particularly the women's organizations because it is a vulnerable rural communities to natural disasters especially hurricanes. 
During the rainy season due to heavy rainfall and led to river flooding, the flood waters created new channels and washed away entire banana plantations every year. Visiting the area and listened to the grievance of the women was painful. So I decided to do something through a women organization to teach the women what can be done with the bark of the banana tree.



Banana plantation destroyed after a hurricane


The bark of banana trees is virtually useless.The villagers simply used it to tie their vegetables together, feeding it to pigs and cropping them to some area just before selling them to traditional markets. So what else can we do with the banana bark?
The banana bark putting to dry



Dry banana bark




The use of banana bark also marks creative search for natural materials that people find useless but can be turned into something else.

With a group of women (30) showing them on how to dry the banana bark.



cleaning the dry banana bark


Weaving the banana bark


Teaching them how to weave

Mind you these women never done anything like that before. They were between the ages of 17 to 60 years old. Below you will have a view of some of the finishing products I worked with them in 6 weeks time.







Mother and son showing their hard work, coasters
Women sandal made with leather, banana bark and the leaf on top is made from coconut shell.




The items: document holder, wallets, eye glasses holder, coasters are put to dry after applying the varnish




A picture frame and she incorporated bamboo as for the frame.





The 17 year old girl with her work (placemat, wallet, eye glasses and passport holder)


eye glasses holder


wallet (open)


wallet (close)


Here:wallet, eye glasses and passport holder.





Anyone interested in those items please contact me.
Those women need help as the hurricane season is already upon them which made them and their family very vulnerable. Thank you.

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