Water hyacinth if used properly may create enchanting and interesting craft things. For those of you who don’t know what water hyacinth is, water hyacinth is a plant that grows in shallow ponds, wetlands and swamps, slow water flows, lakes, water reservoirs and rivers. These plants could adapt to extreme changes in water level, water currents, and changes in the availability of nutrients, pH, temperature and toxins in the water.
The massive growth of water hyacinth is mainly due to water containing high nutrients, especially those rich in nitrogen, phosphate and potassium (FAO Report). The salt content may inhibit the growth of water hyacinth as happened in lakes in coastal areas of West Africa, where water hyacinth will increase during the rainy season and decrease when the salt content rises in the dry season. Well, now it’s time to find out how to make enchanting and attractive water hyacinth crafts, here’s a review:
Water hyacinths live along rivers. The collection of water hyacinth is a challenge for artisans in the context of making bags and other accessories. Usually, the artisans may ask the community on the river bank for help to collect water hyacinth and be given an appropriate reward. The collection of water hyacinth is a noble job because it could clean the river while preventing flooding that may come due to the counter-productive effects of this water hyacinth plant.
After the water hyacinth has accumulated in large quantities, then the next step is to clean them by washing them so that it is clean and removes unpleasant odours. This method of washing water hyacinth is simply sprayed with clean water and the dirt is knocked out by slamming. A washing could be done at the water hyacinth collection location so as not to contaminate the transport that will take it to the production site.
After arriving at the location of the artisans, the water hyacinth began to be sorted. This sorting between leaves and stems is needed to classify the materials that will be used to make bags or other crafts. Separation could be done by cutting using strong cloth scissors or with a knife. Because of its tenacity and hardness, water hyacinth is difficult to break with ordinary hands.
After being sorted, the water hyacinth begins to dry. If it is the dry season then this drying could run smoothly and the time is quite short. This is different when the rainy season runs very long and is uneasy. In some small industries, the manufacture of handicrafts from water hyacinth is also carried out by drying it by smoking or placing it in a drying room. Yet this method is still less effective and less preferred because the quality of water hyacinth will decrease compared to the natural drying process.
Water hyacinth in the form of leaves is usually just dried until it completely loses its water content. Meanwhile, water hyacinth in the form of stems is usually woven first after drying, before being used as raw material for making bags, shoes, and other accessories. This weave could be in the form of small or medium weave loops.
Before cutting and shaping the webbing that has been made, the artisans first need to make a pattern for the product to be produced, they could make patterns for bags or shoes and other accessories. Making this the pattern is applied to newsprint or simply drawn if the pattern later serves to form woven water hyacinth.
From the pattern that has been made, the water hyacinth woven sheet may be cut according to the pattern. For patterns in the form of wrapped accessories, you may immediately see and apply them to the weaving that is being done. After the product has been formed, then we may then cover it with anti-fungal coating so the product doesn’t get moldy easily. Finally, the product the is dried and ready to be packed!
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