Nettle

Fabrics made from nettle fibre

Nettle fiber comes from a plant that resists our attempts to eradicate it with infinite patience and tenacity. Textiles made of nettle fiber were the linen of poor people and once widespread. Whole monasteries were devoted to their production. Today, they are almost completely forgotten, only their name is still wrongly used for simple, undyed cotton fabrics (nettle).
In Nepal, the fiber is so prized for its fiery wearing qualities that even today people take on the laborious task of fiber production. The native Girardinia diversifolia grows over 3m high. It is harvested and peeled by hand, then the bast is placed overnight in a simmering wood ash bath, which is later used to fertilize the fields. The other morning, the stripped fibers are beaten on stones and rubbed with clay to remove any remaining bark. Then the yarns are spun by hand, knitted or woven into fabric on simple hand looms.
Like everything in nature, these fabrics do not have a uniform shade, the tones vary from straw-coloured to grey-brown or even dark brown and give the finished piece a beautiful, vivid colour grain. The individual handwriting of the spinner and weaver makes each piece unique - fabric in its most original, pure and ecological form.
The material retains and protects body heat, is boil-proof, and becomes more beautiful and softer with use.
Since the fabrics have to be collected from the mountain people in Nepal, they are not always available in endless quantities.