Our seagrass furniture is handcrafted in Bali, Indonesia.
We have many customers ask us: What exactly is seagrass??
Here are some interesting facts about seagrass: We would like to share a wonderful story telling about the dance
between the monsoon rains and the water hyacinth plant, more commonly called "seagrass." Due to surmounting
obstacles, the availability of QUALITY seagrass furniture in the United States has become not only difficult to find, but
pricey. But...oh how wonderful it is, once it makes its way to your space for all to enjoy. It is a conversation piece, for sure!
It is important to understand how the monsoons play a role in this process of making seagrass furniture. Monsoons are
born in the Himalayan Mountain range and the Indian Ocean, wherever the higher pressure is. These monsoons effect the
southeast of Australia, as far south as New Zealand, and throughout the thousands of islands around Indonesia.
Monsoons have to have air that is filled with moisture laden water, collecting large amounts of water from the Indian
Oceans or from the snow melting in the Himalayans. This moisture fills the cold air and comes zooming down, picking up
moisture from the Indian Ocean, and everything spins creating and resulting in monsoon torrential rains. When this part of
the world is experiencing winter, the U.S. is experiencing summer, as Indonesia is below the equator, therefore opposite to
the northern hemisphere.
Monsoons are biller sweet. Too much or too little rain from the monsoon can mean disaster in the form of famine or flood.
They are not only unpredictable, but can be extremely destructive yet on the other hand, also benefit the production of
crops of seagrass. Along with the benefits come mixed blessings. Monsoons can raise havoc as roads are washed out by
flooding, which in turn effects access to the cutting, harvesting, and transporting of the seagrass. The manufacturing and
production is effected by all of this.
What do we mean by QUALITY seagrass? Just as coffee brokers fly to different parts of the world to select the best grade
of coffee beans, seagrass is also priced by the quality of the seagrass. For example: the widest, smoothest, least amount
of spotting, and filled with tonal variation (light and dark natural colors in the bundles). We send our brokers to buy the best
quality seagrass used to make our furniture. There is no odor or musty smell. That means a lot. Who wants that??
Our furniture is dependant on many factors: weather patterns as explained above and also governmental environmental
regulations. Seagrass must be harvested at certain times of year due to its volatile nature in the bundled state.. It cannot
be stored for long periods of time. High humidity can cause mildew, putting off a noticeable odor. The difficulty and
expense to keep the seagrass available throughout the year under these conditions is an ongoing challenge. Weavers,
who have learned the art of weaving, have acquired the knowledge of all of these factors and have learned their trade
passed on from generation to generation over thousands of years. They are accustomed to the cycles of the monsoon
seasons and have learned where, how, and when to dance with these conditions. With only crude methods of
manufacturing and limitations to the accessibility of power tools. that we take for granted, the ingenious and pragmatic
people of Indonesia have overcome obstacles and have learned to adapt using natural products that are healthy and
durable without the use of chemicals, which is monitored by the government of Indonesia.
One may mistake the weaving as machine woven, but actually it is crafted artfully by hand. It appears so perfect one would
never know. The results are amazing, the surface smooth to the touch. Unlike Abaca, which is rough to the touch, water
hyacinth is easy on the arms. Our furniture is examined for any rough edges that might snag clothing. (see our weave
sample). Many factors contribute to the quality of our furniture.
One can find seagrass furniture in large box stores within the U.S. Photos can make the furniture look fabulous, but it
doesn't mean that is what you will receive. We pay more for excellent materials, the weaving, and kiln drying process and
the cotton. If not kiln dried, the wood will crack and split once it leaves the tropics. Each piece is labor intensive. For
example, it takes 3 full days to weave our corner sectional chairs.
Let's examine our seat cushions. Most furniture coming in from China and Southeast Asia is made of solid low density light
weight foam, is flat and the cushions are not comfortable. Our sectional seat cushions are 7" deep, have individually
wrapped coils inside, with high density foam around the coils and surrounded by lofty batting. The cushion is wrapped in
an inner cotton breathable casing. The outside slipcovers are zippered, made of 100% upholstery grade cotton twill. The
fabric is treated with an eco friendly solution (click here to see the Organic Certification). This is shipped from Germany to
our factory in Bali, applied to the fabric before made into the cushion covers. Liquids will bead up and roll off; it's amazing.
No worries about coffee or wine stains on the off white fabric.
With many of these challenges, American furniture stores are not finding it cost effective to order furniture made from
natural water hyacinth and if they do, is priced very high or the quality is not good. They are now selling Abaca which is
easier all around but not nearly as lovely and smooth. Our prices are still competitive with large box stores. We are happy
to pass this on to you. We ship our sectionals and furniture from southern California to all parts of the U.S. To ship 544
lbs of furniture is about $ 285.00. We have discounted shipping sales on our furniture. The ETA is about 2 - 9 business
days, shipped on an 18 wheeler across country.
We hope you have enjoyed learning about seagrass, how dear it is, and how durable and long lasting. It is renewable as it
does grow in abundance in Indonesia. It grows so rapidly that it clogs up the water ways and now has regulated harvesting,
keeping the ecosystem healthy.
Once you receive your furniture you can be proud that you have made one small contribution to keeping our oceans and
landfills clear of the debris from furniture that is not biodegradable, such as metals and plastics.
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The Life of Seagrass