Mats and Floor coverings
Once a year, and the floodwaters recede, rush grass is harvested in the Mekong and surrounding deltas. BOC recently acquired its first actual; weaving facility. Our first step was to raise the weavers salaries from $1.50 per day to $2.50 per day and above, but before BOC the goal among social enterprises was a mere $1.50 a day. Follow the pictorial here to see how this grass is harvested, selected, cut into strips, dyed and eventually woven into beautiful tatami style mats which have been used for centuries. BOC has specialized in bringing an international quality to the weaving patterns so our products fit in easily no matter where they are worn or used, all over the world.

Our tatami-style purses are made from Cambodian rush grass. Because of the monsoons, there is only one major harvest of the grass each year. After the grass is gathered and dried, it is cut down to make a fine strand of weaving material. High-quality purses use grass that has been cut at least 6 times--our workers cut the grass up to 8 times. (Low quality purses are woven from grass that has been only cut 3 or 4 times.)

Next, the grass is dyed by workers dipping the grass back and forth in large vats. All of our dyes are certified non-toxic. Black rush grass takes six dye baths to reach the rich, dark color of our purses; other colors require only one dye cycle. The entire process takes only a few days.

The grass is hung to dry. It will be used by weavers to make long, wide mats that will be cut into purse pieces, or trimmed to make floor and place mats. These mats are woven by two people working on one loom: One person chooses and threads each strand of grass while the other operates the loom. Each pattern requires a different loom set up; the black burleywood pattern is more complicated to weave than, say, brown striated. Each mat takes about one day to make. Workers are paid by the mat, making a minimum of $2.50 per day.

The mats are inspected by managers—long-time weavers who help maintain quality control. Then, they are passed on to the makers, or trimmed to make our small, medium and large floor mats. 

The makers cut them into purse pieces and get to work sewing. Each maker is paid for each item she or he makes. They cut the pattern pieces, sew them together, and finish them with lining, hardware and other details before passing them on to be inspected. A few workers recruit relatives or friends to help them. The average maker can make 2 or 3 purses in a day, depending on the model. Excellent workers (or workers with several helpers) can make 4 or 5 purses in a day.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: December 4, 2011
 
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