Making things with Matatabi
This is the latest exciting thing in our lives. Not the gumboots, although they are quite exciting too, special ones for winter, please feel free to admire them! The really exciting thing though is the matatabi, actinidia polygama or silver vine propped up in the doorway. It grows in the mountains here, and is used for making baskets and all different types of colanders for vegetables and rice. Matatabi products are amazing to use because they're strong yet flexible, last forever and as an extra bonus are also very pretty.
Our 76 year old neighbour is forever telling me he can do anything. As much as I hate to admit it, he's actually not too far off it! He's one of the very few people around here who still knows how to make rope from a certain kind of tree bark. He makes beautiful traditional lanterns. And of course, he makes baskets and colanders with matatabi. He's been promising all year to teach us when winter came, and so here we are, matatabi step one!
I must admit rather sheepishly that so far I have done absolutely nothing to contribute to this project. Then again, seeing the state Y. was in after the trip into the forest to cut the vine, I'm a little bit glad I was stuck at home with the baby! He was a wreck after trying to keep up with our neighbour in the forest, even though at any other time he totters unsteadily about the place. We should never underestimate these mountain folk!
Anyway, the first step is to strip the bark off. These are just shavings, but I thought they were still relevant.
Next you cut it to size, and soak it in water for a few days.
We've still got a lot more of the vine to strip and cut, and the plan is that the three of us (the third being our neighbour, not the baby) will do as much as we can this evening. I'm really excited!