Bahamian Weavers



Straw weavers of the Bahamas plait using a technique that has been passed down from generation to generation. When questioned about who taught them how to weave, the answers given are "my grandmother, my mother, my sister". Now, when someone asks me how I learned to plait, I say "My Bahamian Sisters".

From island to island I have quickly made personal connections. Sharing the love of weaving breaks down cultural differences that may other wise get in the way of developing a friendship with the people. Often they spot me walking with straw sticking out of my bag. When they see me, they are intrigued. They are as curious about me as I am about them. Immediately, the door is open and I begin to learn about them, their way of life and most important, their traditional techniques.Harvest 2
Harvest 3 All the weavers plait using the same techniques from island to island, but at each island I learn something new.
Being a beginner, I am very slow and often don't pick up some details that are important to the overall design. But, that's ok because I pick up bits and pieces of information, sail away, practice while underway and then on the next island I search out a new "Bahama Sister".



I knew it. Even before the anchor was down. There are no weavers on Eleuthra - our last island for the season. The island had no silver palms. Since the straw weavers use what is on hand, there would be no materials available on the island. It looked like this would be the end of my straw weaving opportunities for this season.What a disappointment.
I meet a couple of natives working a food stand at the Rock Sound Homecoming festival. I showed them some of my straw weavings. Although they were not straw weavers, they certainly have been exposed to the industry all their lives. They couldn't remember the name of a particular weave and were shocked to find out that I knew the name. As the conversation continued about palm tops and other straw, they began to tease me by saying that "You no American, You Bahama lady". From then on, when these women wanted my attention they called me by shouting, "Hey, Bahama Lady!"
Spring 2007