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  • Exploring Potential Viability of Banana Fibre as A Raw Material for The Craft

    As the craft and fashion industries draw closer to an era where artificial materials are hard to find, natural fibres such as cotton, which requires a lot of investment to cultivate, and petroleum derivatives such as plastic, acrylics and nylon continue to be in high demand. Regardless, the large-scale production and use of such materials continue to have a significant negative and irreparable impact on the planet.

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    This may come as a bit of a surprise - banana fibre is among the strongest materials in the natural world. It is , and fibres that are extracted from the stem of the tree are remarkably durable. The fibre is made up of thick walls of cell material, held together by a natural bonding agent that is mainly made up of lignin, cellulose and hemi celluloses. Banana fibre bears a remarkable resemblance to bamboo fibre, but it has much greater tensile strength, spin ability and fineness depending on the part of the stem from which the fibres are extracted.

    They can be used to create textiles of varying thicknesses and weights that would be ideal for making crafts such as wallets. The stronger fibres that make sturdier, thicker fibres come from the plant's outer sheaths, while the inner sheaths will produce softer fibres. Without much effort, extracted fibres can be used for weaving mats and ropes. They are also excellent raw material for handmade paper. The fibres make very strong paper, a product that would be an environmentally friendly alternative to animal-based materials or non-biodegradable materials typically used in fashion and design. Banana fibre is naturally water resistant. It is also resistant to fire and tearing.

    At the start of extraction, plant’spseudo stem is taken apart piece by piece. The sheaths are then fed into an extraction machine that extricates the fibres from the remaining plant material. To create textile materials, the fibres are cooked in an alkaline solution. They are then joined to form long threads which are spun wet to avoid breakage.

    The fabrics acquired from this process are supple, soft, highly absorbent and eco-friendly. They can then be used to make handicrafts such as laptop bags and purses.

    Now more than ever, artists and designers are looking for sustainable eco-friendly alternatives to mass-produced cotton and petroleum derivatives, a trend that has also been supported by growing public demand for fashion pieces, ornaments and crafts made using materials and processes that do not harm the environment.

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