lthough wonderful wicker actually reminds me of the sunfilled summer days during my years in South Africa, I just couldn’t resist posting these images now (even if it’s a looooong way to summer). I really like wicker, because of its warm color, its earthy, natural vibe and because wicker is so versatile. It is not only used for baskets and hats, but for furniture as well.
Light in weight, but sturdy in use, this material has been documented as far back as ancient Egypt. From there its popularity spread south into the African continent and west via Persia to ancient Rome. And as the Roman Empire expanded over Europe, so did the use of wicker.
During those days wicker was made of indigenous reed and swamp grasses. But did you know that there is a difference between wicker and that other material: rattan? Let me explain: during the Golden Age (or the Age of Exploration starting in the early 15th century and continuing upto the 18th century) international European sea traders came back from the Far East with baskets made of palm, or rattan. Rattan is stronger than traditional European wicker materials, which made the stuff even more popular. During the Victorian Age people actually thought that wicker/rattan furniture was more sanitary than upholstered furniture.
In the 19th century, rattan was used as ballast in ships. In 1850, there was this smart guy, Cyrus Wakefield, who used the offloaded and discarded rattan from the ships to make rattan furniture. His designs soon became very popular and his company grew into one of the oldest and prominent North American wicker manufacturers, known today as the Haywood-Wakefield company in Massachussetts.
But enough of this history lesson, I hope you enjoy this selection of wicker images that I put together.
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