Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Papyrus Crafts

Papyrus -- Raw Material for Many Things Around the House

In ancient Egypt papyrus stems were used to make millions of pieces of paper, but in addition, the stems were used for making many other things that were useful around the house.

Handmade modern papyrus paper.

Papyrus still grows in many places in Africa where it still comes in handy for crafts of all sorts.

Papyrus stems harvested from local swamps are set out in the sun to dry.

Sewn together the stems form mats that can be used for floor covering, ceilings inside huts and screens to separate rooms.

Tied together the stems make a light, portable table for market days.

Peeled or slit the green stems can be woven into baskets

or sandals

Or made into boxes such as this container made of papyrus from Ancient Egypt. (Brit. Museum)

The most common use for the stems is in roof thatching

In ancient Egypt papyrus was woven into cheap, strong rope and cordage used for ship rigging, and moving masonry blocks for building monuments.

Lamp wicks in old Egypt could be made from fibers of papyrus, wicks were still called “paperus” in 16th Century Italy.

© Copyright 2009 John J. Gaudet, All Rights Reserved

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