I stumbled upon the first colorful ikat fabric planter image, where else, on Pinterest. I clicked the vistit link and it took me to a closed Etsy shop named 7100 Islands. Hmmm. So cute. I read the description on past sales and they referred to the fabric as abaca (more on that to follow) and the vessels as bowls. The fabric is from the Philippines and the studio that made the bowls was in France. I checked their blog and there were no posts since 2013. I searched the internet for over an hour looking for similar vessels/bowls/planters and found none. I just kept stumbling upon active Pinterest pins of these clever bowls from the defunct 7100 Islands. It was eerie, similar to driving into an abandoned town with just tumbleweeds and great architecture.  I must say that I am shocked that Anthropologie, Urban Outfiiters or ,even, Frontgate hasn’t taken off with something similar. The ikat weave and bright colors certainly make the bowls in the left image more impactful. However, the ones in the right image do have a cool, earthy, organic vibe.

Okay, I must confess that I had to look up the definition of abaca. It is a fiber from  a species of banana that is  native to the Philippines and grown as a commercial crop in the Philippines, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. The plant is also known as Manila hemp and is harvested for its fiber which is extracted from the leaf stems. Plant grows to 13–22 feet It is classified as a hard fiber, along with sisal and coir. It is extremely strong and grows without any need for pesticides or insecticides. It, like hemp, isn’t prone to rotting or molding easily. So, it seems like a great natural and non-toxic option for outdoor use. The ikat weaving is reffered to as  T’nalak.  The weavers use backstrap looms and it takes months to yield 10 yards. The artisans strip, split, knot, design, tie, dye, weave and pound.  Prepping the loom can take a month. The weaving of the exquisitely complex T’nalak, a resist-dyed (ikat) abaca fiber. So, it is now not a surprise that this fabric used by mass producers or easily accessible in the worldwide marketplace.

Are they not adorable? Come back 7100 Islands. I never knew you.

abaca planters

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