Bamboo can be manufactured and processed into an amazing variety of products these days, including flooring, clothing and even beer. Not bad for what is essentially an overgrown species of grass! Lucky for us that bamboo is a fast growing, eco-friendly plant found all around the world, between 50° north and 50° south of the equator.
One of the more beautiful products made from bamboo is commonly referred to as “spun bamboo.” The name is deceptively simple for a process that is quite labor intensive, since the “spinning” must be done by hand. Spun bamboo products come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The spinning process lends itself to circular and spherical shapes, but angled shapes are possible too. The most common products are plates, bowls and vases. The top artisans twist, bend and coax the spun bamboo into beautiful pieces of art, some meant for hanging on the wall or from the ceiling, others simply to display on a table or shelf.
After being harvested and cut, the raw bamboo is prepped for spinning by drying it out, soaking it and drying it again. Several more steps go into cutting the bamboo into strips. When the strips are finally ready to go, the artisans tightly coil and press them together by hand.
Significant dexterity and skill go into shaping the spun bamboo. The more complicated the shape, the more skill and effort required. Molds and templates are sometimes used to assist the shaping of the bamboo. Glue is used to hold the strips together, and dyes are added to help create the signature look of spun bamboo. When the form is complete, a series of finishes, sanding and glazing is alternated with drying in the sun. The result is a unique product that will impart a tropical and elegant feel to almost any space.
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