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Weaving with Weeds

Weeding in the name of art

Many individual artists and groups in Queensland already use weed vines in basketry including Cats Claw Creeper, Running Bamboo, Elephant Grass and Cocos Palm inflorescences. Crafts range from simple bracelets to large-scale installations shown at Folk festivals and events throughout the year.

Floss Wainwright weaving with Cats Claw Creeper
Floss Wainwright of the The Queensland Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists demonstrates weaving with Cats Claw Creeper. Photo: Mark Crocker

Rene Bahloo teaches weaving with palm inflorescences
Rene Bahloo of Weavery teaching workshop participants how to weave with Cocos Palm inflorescence. Photo: Mark Crocker

The Green Elephant in the Room

Pennisetum purpureum is one under-used resource readily available around Enoggera Creek. Also known as Elephant Grass, Napier or 'Bana' Grass this highly invasive plant is valued in its native Africa for weaving baskets, hats and fans. Farmers markets around Brisbane often sell the highly colourful, dyed and woven baskets.

elephant grass along Enoggera Creek
Pennisetum purpureum growing wild along Enoggera Creek. Photo: Sarah-Jane Abbott

Cat's Claw Creeper

Another useful weed around Enoggera catchment is Macfadyena unguis-cati, the dreaded Cat's Claw Creeper.

Easily harvested & looped in coils for storing, it only needs an overnight soak before becoming supple again for weaving into baskets or installation pieces. A coat of decking oil protects works from the weather.

Just be sure to cut down to the roots and poison - it's unlikely to be wiped out even with hordes of willing weavers.