This challenge proved not so much a dilemma for several folks. The answer is fiber rush.
We watched a local artists using it for this footstool at last weekend’s Heritage Festival.
Fiber rush is a twisted cord man-made from top-quality and chemically treated kraft paper, twisted and used mostly to weave chair/stool seats. (Sandra you were very close too.)
Note: An on-line search showed 2 spellings: fiber and fibre. It’s also called “creative twist” or “paper wicker.”
NOTE: The information below is from the website The Wicker Woman by Cathryn Peters. Ms. Peters is an expert on wicker furniture restoration, chair seat weaving and antler basket artistry. More photos and information can be viewed on her website.
Fiber rush was invented in the U.S. in 1904, and emulated Victorian wicker furniture made from imported rattan reed.
In the early 1900s to the late 1930s, it was used primarily in the construction and manufacturing of wicker furniture from the early 1900s to the late 1930s. At the turn of the 20th century, an embargo was placed on the importation into the U.S. of rattan reed coming from the Orient. Since rattan reed was in such short supply, manufacturers of wicker furniture using reed or rattan had to come up with an alternative material.
This new paper material was attractive to wooden chair manufacturers who had woven chair seats with natural cattail leaf rush or bulrush. Both of these products were labor intensive in processing and weaving. When paper fiber rush became available, it was used as a replacement for the natural rush seats on ladder-back Colonial style chairs, mule-ear style chairs, Hitchcock and similar chairs.