More than 10 years ago, Serfenta became fascinated with the unusual Polish basketry material – cattail, also called bulrush, typha latifolia. How is it? Very soft and plastic, in a beautiful honey colour, and when it’s woven – it is very durable.
Then, during expeditions in search of basketry masters, we found the mistress Helena Rogala, called cattail queen, who weaves typha precisely and beautifully like no one else. And we began our long-term cooperation and friendship with her.
In this material the most difficult is to get it. Years ago cattail used to be obtained for tons in Poland, today no one organizes cattail harvest, only a few people weave of this material (Serfenta cooperates with three of them). In winter, you need to find a pond which is drained and in which a good-quality plant grows – not always is suitable. You have to spend a whole day in the cold and wind, in unpleasant conditions. Go down into the mud, sometimes almost drown – that’s what we know from the story of Helena, who despite her age decided to do it with us!
That is why it is our mutual, huge success this year – ours and the Rogala family. Together, we organized the harvest and acquired the material. See what it looks like. This is a really amazing event in Serfenta.
Each blade is cut by hand with a sickle by Helena and her family. Then the heavy bundles are taken out and transported to the garden, where they season in large stacks until summer. The harvest lasts all day or several days. This is what happened this year, after many years of break on such a scale.
Why do we need so much cattail? We believe in the beauty and strength of this material. We have been preparing everything for a long time to weave it with you. In May 2020, we are organizing a master workshop for cattail weaving – on Thursday we will announce all the details. Soon our new shop online will appear – and in it you will be able to buy a set: cattail, a wooden weaving mold, instructional videos with master Helena. You can buy videos now and read about the cattail in our book.
This is what the fascinating RAD duo did – using our cattail and films they woven a fantastic hat, an element of the Wiesia collection (Read in Vogue!)
Now you know how cattail bags are created from start to finish, the ones you can buy here. You know how much work it takes, who cuts and weaves. Let the cattail enter fashion shows, let this material reign again. (Applause for RAD duo!) That’s our dream! Do you also enjoy the cattail harvest like us?
Last year, among the ones who woven cattail with us were KUKBUK and Łukasz Łuczaj. Who will meet the cattail and us in May this year?
We will announce the master cattail workshop on Thursday.
Photos in the field: irreplaceable Rafał Soliński, we invite you to a real photographic feast.