Weaving Crafts in Kiribati

November 1, 2021

Hello! I did some research on the type of crafts that people of Kirabati made. It was not an easy search as there is little available. Still, the little I found made me realize that all of their crafts seemed to have a common thread… literally: weaving!

I found a great blog from the British Museum where they explain and talk about Kiribati’s craftsmanship from the times the Gilbert Islands were part of the United Kingdom until today. This museum has 600 pieces belonging to their history. For example:

Model canoes, canoe ornaments and the many fish hooks in the collection demonstrate a thorough and historic understanding of the surrounding Pacific Ocean, how to travel between islands and what it takes to thrive in this environment. These objects survive as testament to the sophisticated navigators of days gone by.” Cr. The British Museum Blog.

This is canoe mast or pennant made of wood, pandanus leaf and fibre. Donated to the British Museum by Sir Arthur Grimble in 1921.

If you are interested in reading more in this blog go HERE. This is the display of Kiribati in the museum (at the time the blog was written)

I found another blog of someone who attempted to cover different aspects of Kiribati but sadly did not continue. However he did a fantastic page where you can see the materials used in construction… palm leaves being one of them… they do a lot of weaving with palm leaves. Here are some images from that blog:

https://wikieducator.org/File:Buiah.jpg
https://wikieducator.org/File:Buiad.jpg
https://wikieducator.org/File:Rokih.jpg

He also showed some of the crafts:

These are from Pintarest:

Cr. mcic.gov.ki

From Pintarest:

Here is a great video of people from Kiribati weaving many beautiful crafts:

It’s impressive! And they also use shells:

And these are more crafts using shells. They came from a Facebook Page called Kiribati Crafts HERE.

Last I will show you how they weave their clothing… they use a lot of palm and coconut fiber:

Cr. https://www.facebook.com/manokankiribati/

Their clothing is so beautiful! I found a video that showcases how to make a flower crown. Their skill is astounding:

So beautiful! I really wanted to do something like that but it’s hard to find the materials… and even having the skill to follow a video like this one! So I looked up kits with instructions and I found a kit to weave a plate from the Native American Hopi Culture. I liked it but most importantly I thought I could do it! And I did… almost! I worked about 12 hours on it and this is my finalized version, not the one on the kit! I call it the Halloween Sun! ^ ^

I have a new appreciation for weaved crafts… such as baskets, and all the things featured on this page. I just think their work is greatly undervalued! Baskets are really too cheap for all the work they take!

This is how I made my Halloween sun:

This is the kit, he materials and the instructions booklet:

Here is how you begin…

I used a cutting board to support all the ‘spokes’… spokes are the threads that sirve as the base for your weaving. In this kit is is a hard cardboard like material.

Then after your weaving gets bigger, it is necessary to increase the amount of spokes. Otherwise your design would be too flimsy. This is a tedious task (my least favorite) and so time consuming! I had to add 48 of them! One sticks them in with glue.

It did look very cool after I was done:

It was so exciting when I made it to the orange color. I love how lively it made the design!

Yeah… I stopped right before that add 48 spokes! ^ ^

Tadaaaa!

I found it very relaxing to weave, specially when I sat in front of the sun by a window… and I was not recording! I can only imagine how relaxing it must be to do this in Kiribati, listening to the waves and sitting under a palm tree with a cool breeze…

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