The endless offer of industrially produced goods on the market puts us in the role of the mere consumer. When we buy equipment for home or personal use, we get used to the model that buying it from others is the only option we have, and there is rarely any focus on how these items are produced.
Something we make ourselves with our own hands, harks back to a time before industrialisation, globalisation and wild consumption. Our habits for the last century or more have been shaped by our faith in technology and a love affair with what has become known as ‘convenience’.
However, this well-established shopping process does not recognise either the negative aspects of our consumer-driven choices (to the planet / world economies) or, conversely, the real benefits of actually making something oneself.
Rejection of the consumer model in favour of self-made could be one of the most disruptive movements of our times.
With a growing awareness of the harmful effects of traditional consumption, we are looking for, and expecting, solutions based on the principles of reducing waste, energy consumption and resources.
Instead, we are often searching for products that use renewables, or waste as a raw material, and as responsible consumers we expect new services and products to support us in this direction when looking for ways to achieve the lowest possible personal carbon footprint.
Big industry is already looking for solutions in this direction, but is slow, and frequently does not address the core issues.
There is however, another path people can take. As individuals we can make steps by changing our shopping habits. The decision to buy something that is made locally using 100% biological and renewable materials, or even make that item ourselves, could bring about huge change.
To be independent of industry and, so to speak, self-sufficient, is completely disruptive.
DIY _ Corn Husk Rug
Instead of buying a product, we can make it ourselves.
Making a rug is easy. We begin by weaving a braid, which we later sew together into a circular or oval shape.
Corn husk has been used by different nations around the world, from Native Americans to the Japanese. In Slovenia, corn husks have traditionally been used for doormats.
This is a simple example of a circular economy, where waste (corn husk) is the basic raw material for a product that can be composted when its life cycle is completed.
The aim of this project is also to transfer knowledge and preserve traditional craft techniques.
1 / For making a carpet with a diameter of 100 cm, you will need around 2 - 3 kg of corn husk
The best thing is to find a local farmer with a cornfield, who might be keen on sharing some with you. Since corn is growing on almost all the continents, and its world production is around 1.1 million tons, hopefully, this shouldn’t be too difficult. But be aware that it is necessary to pick up the cones by hand from the corn plants to later peel them off, so you get the material for braiding.
2 / You will also need a clip, needle, string, and scissors
3 / Moisten the corn husk by spraying with water to make it supple and workable
4 / To begin plait, take three corn husk strips and place them on top of each other
5 / Use the clip, so it would be easier to tie the top.
6 / Start plaiting and adding individual strips. So, after folding the first strip, you can already add another one on the top. The length of the part of the slip that is sticking out is in this case 3 cm. But is up to you to decide on the final look of the carpet.
Repeat the same thing for the second slip and all the rest. Just continue this rhythmic process of folding, adding, and braiding…
7 / Once long enough stop adding more strips and continue plaiting the remaining strips, then tie with string.
So now that you have made around 12m long plait, it is time to fold it in a circular form.
8 / First twist the beginning of the plait into a spiral and stitch it firmly together. Use strong thread or string from natural materials (linen, cotton) and a curved or a very long needle. Sew on the backside, catching the braids on both sides as you go. You can make these rugs oval or round.
9 / When sewing the plait together, spray the corn husk with water to moisturize and keep it flexible
10 / To keep the rug flat, straighten it during the process
11 / Continue sewing until you get the desired rug size
And that’s basically it. Just choose your preferable spot in your home, where you would like to see and enjoy your corn husk rug.
"Made in Slovenia" 2021
PraPreproga has received an important national design award - the Badge of Design Excellence, ”Made in Slovenia” by the Center for Creativity, (Museum of Architecture and Design, MAO)
PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD - TIME TO VOTE!
⏳ Public voting is open until August 25!
You are kindly invited to VOTE for circular, open source designs and contribute to the distributed design ecosystem! ♻️
The initiative is organized by Distributed Design, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.