Monday, May 10, 2021

A Handmade Sail

A while ago, I joined a Facebook group called Nettles for Textiles, which is for people talking about exactly what that sounds like. These folks also occasionally talk about the use of other plant fibers in textiles, such as flax or hemp. 

Recently, this image was shared in the group, along with this accompanying text:

This is the corner of a hand-sewn sail made in the 1800s. The craftsmanship and quality of the work is amazing. This is a lost art. The canvas sails were made of hemp along with clothing, ropes, and the caulking used to fill gaps between planks among other things. Hemp is three times stronger than jute and was preferred because it was unaffected by salt water.

What a thing of functional beauty! Humans: we make things work.

1 comment:

Jean said...

I would love to see and handle some nettle fabric! I'm always wishing people would mention it more, and from what I hear it comes out nice. Just the other day I got to tour "the only commercial flax producer in the US" (that is, a little flax/linen farm) and that was a good time.

PS Vikings made their sails out of wool! Scandinavians preferred wool right into the 19th century.