Wednesday 9 February 2011

Nettle Cordage

A new product that we are delighted to add to our store is this 100% Giant Himalayan Nettle handspun cordage. It is produced in the remote villages of Nepal where the nettle grows in abundance. The villagers harvest, boil, clean and spin the fibres and sell the hanks to a supplier who will bring them into the capital city. The suppliers usually sell this type of cordage on to mat weavers.

We buy this strong nettle cordage by the KG, but intend to retail it in 25m lengths (pictured above). It is perfect for heavy duty use in the garden or for tent and yurt construction. A close up of the cordage shows the twisting of thousands of fibres (pictured below). Nettle is a much softer fibre than hemp making this cordage soft, flexible and very strong.

Bad news for our production period is the increase of load-shedding. Load shedding is the scheduled cutting off of electricity. It is a symptom of electricity production not meeting the demand and until recently the power was out for 12 hours a day.
From Monday 7th February, load shedding increased to 14 hours a day. This lack of a constant electrical supply is having a negative effect on many business, especially small business where the use of a generator is not possible due to either noise pollution or the increasing expense and sometimes shortage of fuel. The government made a promise to the people of Nepal at the beginning of the year that 2011's load shedding will not exceed 16 hours!

The police and army presence throughout the city is the same as usual, but the city atmosphere feels as though there is a slightly more stable and secure feeling than last year's political chaos. A new Prime Minister has been elected and appears to appreciate some support from the Moaists. Being Nepal, this is all open to change!! For most workers, life goes on amid the price increase of basic daily commodities and load shedding becomes just another routine.