Natural Reed Thread Cloth by Rikuno Wa

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These cloths were made using reed thread and and organic cotton by the Kyoto based social business Rikuno Wa.

The reed beds next the Uji river in Kyoto are roosting grounds for swallows. It is important to maintain the habitat, and cutting in the winter time, allows for thicker vegetation when the swallows need it next.

The mission of the small Rikuno Wa company is to find sustainable uses for the cut reed materials, in order to generate funds for conservation.  Here the reeds (yoshi) are woven into the fabric of these cloths suitable for cleaning, wiping or table decoration.

Each cloth is 38cm x 38cm, and weighs 10g.

They are presented in three bird themed colours: Kingfisher blue, uguisu green and reed warbler cream.

About Rikuno Wa

The reedbeds of Kyoto are vital roosting grounds for swallows.  Such rich ecosystems were once found in wetlands all over Japan, but have frequently been lost.  Active management is hence important to maintain the areas in as vibrant health as possible.

With the swallows having migrated south, in the winter months the reeds dry out and can be cut to stimulate new growth.  This promises dense and secure roosting sites on their return.  The process also creates by-products that can be used sustainably, and through the social business Rikuno Wa, help generate funds for conservation.

Uses found down the years for the yoshi reed are intertwined with Kyoto’s culture and have included roofing, festival torches, and the reed of hichiriki flutes as used in the gagaku music of the Heian court.

Modern applications developed by Rikuno Wa include eco-friendly drinking straws, chopsticks and threads.  The point of each is not just the natural quality of the items, but the support to nature provided in the process that created them.

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