Cattails to seats

I’ve woven many seats from the beautiful marsh plant known as cattails and every time I’m blown away by the results.

It’s a project that is not requested often so when I get the opportunity, I’m thrilled. Firstly, I get to go on a field trip to gather the leaves which affords me the opportunity to escape my studio and be with nature. This project involved gathering enough cattails for six chairs so it took several excursions. I have several neighbors and friends who allow me to carefully gather modest amounts of cattails from each of their marshlands so as not to decimate any particular one (Thank you, friends).

While on these trips, I was graced by the presence of rabbits, fox, deer, copious bird species, a close encounter with a snake 😬 and most abundantly, mosquitoes! Weaving with cattails is a process of long range planning. First, is to wait until fall to gather the leaves. Next, is carefully culling and separating the best leaves. After laying them out somewhere safe from the elements to dry, it’s a waiting game. They need to have fully dried before use for weaving.

When they are ready, they must then be mellowed which involves wrapping them warm wet cloth for several hours to soften. When done right, the leaves are so velvety soft it’s like twisting strips of cotton into workable strands for weaving. A real pleasure and marvel from start to finish.


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