Friday, December 7, 2018

Sisal Plants and Handcrafts

Sisal is one of the most widely used natural fibers in the world and can be obtained from the leaves of Agave (Agave sisalana) plant. It thrives in tropical and sub-tropical climates in temperatures above 77 degrees Fahrenheit and with generous levels of sunshine. Kenya is one of three locations that produce the highest quality sisal, with Tanzania and Brazil being the other two.

Its spectacular sword-shaped leaves create a rosette up to 6 and a half feet tall and are densely packed with smooth, straight slightly yellow fibers. Sisal is naturally resistant to water damage and maintains its integrity without the use of synthetic chemicals, which is instrumental in its worldwide success. Originally harvested to make twine and ropes, its uses have expanded and integrated into textiles. The highest grade sisal is reserved for the manufacture of baskets, rugs and other luxury home furnishings.

This week we met with one of many women’s groups in Machakos, Kenya to provide Christ-centered business education to sisal basket-makers. These ladies are master crafters with the strong fibers. As a result of our work together, they have several new product ideas for which the sisal plant can be used. Stay connected to find out what they will be.
Guest Blog Writer: Cindy Faber