Today my laser like wrapping focus is on burlap. I am slap bang and very happily in the middle of Mother’s Day wrapping and there have been more than a few requests for a burlap touch. Burlap is not my go to fabric but I have seen it used really well and when it works, it really does have a certain presence.
Burlap is also known as hessian is many parts of Europe because it was in wide use in Germany when that country was called “Hesse” and Germans were called Hessians. Who knew? Some Germans fought against the American rebels in the American Civil War and they fought in burlap uniforms – now that would be none too comfortable. That could explain why in religious rituals where one is denied pleasure, clothing is inevitably burlap, jute or even hair shirts.
Burlap is coarse because it is made of the skin of the jute plant. The fibres of a jute plant are high in cellulose and lignin which creates an almost hybrid cloth wood or wood cloth. Jute is strong, durable, resistant to heat and water seepage, and dyes well. Jute is also a good insulator and is anti-static. C’mon Jute – now you are showing off! If this natural fibre is speaking to you, I can recommend a great overview called From Jute to Hessian
Because Jute grows in standing water, it is typically grown in countries where the is a monsoon such as India, Nepal and Myanmar and Bengal in Bangladesh. Jute was once known as the “Golden Fibre of Bangladesh”.
Like many natural fibres before it, Jute how has many synthetic competitors. Which is a shame for many reasons but most interestingly because one hectare of jute can consume about 15 tons of carbon dioxide while creating 11 tons of oxygen per year, making it a great anecdote to global warming.
You really can use burlap for all sorts of wrapping and decoration from burlap ribbon of various widths to table runners and chair sashes. There’s jute twine, jute webbing and jute wine bags. Where to start? Even though I love some of the pastel coloured burlaps out there, I am going a la naturel and staying with a burlap ribbon on a Lia Griffith patterned wrapping paper and gift tag . I do, however, reserve my rights to revisit some fabulous pink dyed burlap whenever the moment takes me.