With the ever larger range of goods available to the homemaker, decorator and designer there is less and less information being given to the decision maker on what is Cane, Rattan, Wicker, Banana Leaf, Water Hyacinth, Woven Plastics (PVC and HDPE) Abaca . LLoyd Loom, Malawi cane and Osier. Also how the quality of for instance the cane and rattan are determined.
Cane and rattan are members of the same plant and are in effect a type of palm. Cane is the thicker pieces that the frames are made of and rattan are the thinner sections that are used for the weaving. With the cane and rattan there are various species e.g. Manua Batang Kooboo Red Palembang Pulit etc.
Manua is the Rolls Royce of Cane and is used for the most frames that require intricate bending but still requires a rigid frame. Cane and rattan are graded on the suppleness (how well they bend and keep the formed shape) and the whiteness of the cane. So if the cane can be bend without breaking or breaking the better the quality. The whiteness of the rattan also determine the quality of the rattan. The whiter the cane and rattan the better the quality.
BUT, a lot of manufactures bleach the dark cane to appear whiter. This however leads to an even more inferior raw material as this makes the cane and rattan even more brittle which leads to a product that wont stand up to the wear and tear of the normal household or the heavy duty use in restaurant or hotels. Another way to hide inferior raw materials is to color it very dark.
Osier is the willow shoot that they use for weaving baskets in England and in French an Osier is the guy that do the weaving.
Malawi cane or African cane is a plant (Coculus Hersutus) that grows in certain low lying countries in Sub Saharan Africa.
Banana leaf is the leafs of the banana plant that is twisted and rolled and or platted and then used for weaving. Water hyacinth is a water plant that is originally from Brazil and have now infested just about every waterway in the world. These plants grow aggressively and can completely clog up rivers and dams. For weaving purposes the stem of the leaves are harvested and then dried and platted. This platted rope is then used for weaving.
Woven plastics are man made materials and is either PVC or poli ethylene. This is extruded and used in the manufacturing of furniture either for indoor or outdoor, on aluminium, metal, cane or rattan frames.
Wicker is the term used for all woven furniture, either woven in rattan, osiers, banana leaf, water hyacinth, Malawi cane or Lloyd Loom.
In 1917, the American entrepreneur Marshall Burns Lloyd invented of method of twisting Kraft paper around a steel wire. These wrapped wires were then woven on a loom, thereby creating a fine, regular and solid weave that strongly resembled rattan. Marshall Burns christened this weave Lloyd Loom. Furniture made from Lloyd Loom was an enormous success in the United States.
As a consequence, Lloyd concluded a licensing agreement during the 1920’s with an English manufactured who used the Lloyd Loom material in an original manner and created romantic English furniture collections. In turn Lloyd Loom became the rage all over Europe. Lloyd Loom furniture was seen everywhere: in hotels, restaurants, tea rooms, even on the Zeppelins, as well as on the promenade decks of luxury cruise liners. At the end of the second world war, production ceased due to the bombing and subsequent destruction of the English factory. Today, Lloyd loom has lost none of its beauty and splendour.
Vincent Sheppard has interpreted the Lloyd Loom concept, resulting in a collection, fit for the new century, while retaining the fluid curving lines and grace that makes Lloyd Loom so distinctive and appealing.