Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Langafonua--Weaving Classes

This class was intense! At our first class on tapa cloth painting, it was relaxed, with a lot of chit chat among students as we painted and had tea. This class was concentrate, concentrate, concentrate! Talking was minimal, and tea time was brief. Our assignment was to make a coaster/mat. We used the spine of the coconut palm leaf for the frame, and narrow strips from the pandanus leaf for the wrapping and weaving. (You may remember the long process for getting the pandanus ready for weaving. I wrote about it in the blog about mat weaving.) As usual, being left-handed was a detriment, but there were three of us, and they adjusted to help us. Then it was learning to hold the materials correctly and put the repetitive method needed into my brain. Finally it made sense, but I certainly couldn’t zone out or kibbutz. When it was time to go I grabbed some extra materials so I could finish at home.
The setting was lovely as we got to work outside in the newly built fale (house). Several sat under the shade of the trees. The weather cooperated with a lovely breeze.
My attempt is done, notice, not my first attempt, as this will probably be the only one. It will be a lasting memory of the class, and I have an even greater respect for those who make these weavings. 

Tea time was brief!

 The following Saturday a class gathered for another form of weaving. This time we were learning to make bracelets. Again, we used pandanus. Isn’t that a handy plant?
After making a circle of stiff pandanus, it was tied, then another length of pandanus was added (softer and more flexible) that had the ends split into thin strips, maybe six of them. We began to weave, using another dark strip, about the same width as the strips we were weaving into. This class was much more relaxed, and everyone finished making a bracelet. There are different ways to weave to make patterns, and next time I’ll try a little more experimentation. An enjoyable morning!

The pandanus, a student's beginning work on the coaster, and a completed piece by a professional.

My humble attempt at a coaster and the bracelet.

No comments:

Post a Comment