Sunday, November 4, 2012

Micronesian Slings

Some of the slings I make are reproductions or maybe it's more accurate to say that they are representations and interpretations of slings from the Marianas and surrounding regions. 

In researching, primarily through the Internet I came across this sling. Unfortunately I cannot remember the exact island this sling comes from and have not been able to link the photo back to its origin so I will have to update this entry later on once I figure it out. My only notes on the original picture tell me that the sling is from the Marianas and is made from coconut fiber.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, coconut trees and fiber are in short supply here in the Rocky Mountains so today I made a reproduction of this sling using cord my Che'lu Jose sent to me from Guam. Jose told me the cord is jute. Jute cord is made from plant fiber which technically makes Jose correct but this jute is not like what I normally find on the mainland. 

This cord is much like what we, back in the days not so long used to call "hemp or Manila" cord. The cord is a loosely spun course plant fiber that is cured with kerosene or similar petroleum product.
As a boy we would often see this cord used to bind bales of hay or fix the door on the chicken coup and we would use it for all those things that little boys playing in the woods like to do with cord. 

Well the cord is a little tough to work with, can give you splinters but when it is twisted tightly, the fuzz lightly singed off, waxed then buffed with a cork it makes a very nice sling. 

Here are three strands of cord as it comes off the spool, then the same strands after they have been worked and waxed.  

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