Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Answer – Fiber Rush

SAM_1131This challenge proved not so much a dilemma for several folks. The answer is fiber rush.

CONGRATS to Possum, Kjell and Marty for knowing that this stuff is used for the webbing on chairs or footstools. Double kudos to Possum for knowing its name – at least half of it.

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.)SAM_1130

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.


Denise said...

Now that is a little bit of Americana history I did not know about and am glad to learn. Thank you, great post.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I always I know:)

martymom said...

You are always full of info. Thank you.

Sandra said...

i have heard those chairs called paper wicker chairs. amazing they can make something that will last for many years out of paper. if we don't run out of trees that is. i love hand made things and this is beautiful.

dogsmom said...

I am sorry I missed this week. I have made myself a reminder for next week, (If I can find it through my mess here.) I am also inviting a few friends to play along.
This is very interesting.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks Benise, Connie, Marty, Sandra, Dogsmom - this was a learning experience for me as well. It was fascinating to see the crafter work with this material (sorry I didn't get more pics). And, whenever I learn someting new I enjoy sharing it with everyone. Thanks fror the feedback and glad you enjoyed it.
Dogsmpm, do you have a first name I can use to reply? I try to include one of these challenges every couple of weeks or so, but first have to find a thing or place that will present a challenge. And the more the merrier for participation!

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

Interesting history! I don´t know how many chairs I´ve been sitting on that is made that way and still I couldn´t guess right :-) :-)

Have a great day now!

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