We’ve been delighted with cattail for a long time. This is beautiful, both light and and durable, natural material. For basketry purposes the most important is the underwater part of plant. It means that cutting is a real adventure with wading in the water and manual work. Cutting also depends on the season – basketmakers wait until autumn when they deal with the owners of the ponds to drain the reservoirs. Then they have a direct access to plants along their entire length.
Since we met the first cattail artisans on our basketry trail in 2009, they have became our close co-workers and friends. Currently, two ladies – Helena and Stefania – weave products to Serfenta’s online shop.
They are also teachers when we run cattail basketry workshops.
We’ve decided to focus on cattail in the „Master of Tradition” 2018 project because it is so important material for us. We’ve chosen the master Helena called „the cattail queen” because she is famous for amazing craftsmanship, knowledge of the material and ingeniousness at weaving. Helena gets a salary and shares her knowledge and skills with young generation. A student from the same village visits her once a week and learns how to prepare material and weave baskets, hats and other items step by step. In this way, we take care about passing the tradition on so that basketry could live!
See the cattail products in our shop.
Read about Helena and her work in Serfenta’s book „On the basketry trail of Vistula river”.