Textiles woven from Himalayan giant nettle

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At Clerkenwell this week Studio 23 presented textiles woven from Himalyan giant nettle, known as Allo.

Smilar to linen, the fabric is made by weavers from a small, remote mountain village in eastern Nepal. Fibre taken from the stem of the nettles is hand spun and made into textiles which are then traditionally used to make sacks, bags, straps, jackets or knotted fishing nets.

The Allo nettle grows up to three times the height of European nettles and can be found growing around the edge of forests in Nepal. The plant plays a role in helping to stabilise the soil, an important factor in fragile mountain regions. Harvesting the fibre helps to stop deforestation.

Studio 23 is a social enterprise which was established to work with the Allo Club in the village of Sankhewasabha. By collaborating with local women who weave the nettle fibre the project aims to generate new sustainable and commercial opportunities for the community while also helping to preserve traditional skills.

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Left: Boiling the yarn (image: Helen Giles). Right: Spinning (image: Marie Brisou)

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