The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every two years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.

Description

The cane chair weaver renews and mends chair seats that are made of natural materials, like rushes, rattan and cane. The weaving technique of a cane chair weaver is somewhat comparable to common weaving. By weaving the cane, a honeycomb-like hole pattern is formed. This pattern is applied in six layers. Traditionally much weaving is done with rushes. Cane, the outer bark of rattan, is most frequently used nowadays. Because the work is done with various materials, there are also different techniques. To be able to work with them, the rushes must be damp. The craftsman puts the rushes on a cloth, pours water over them and subsequently wraps them in the cloth. The following day the rushes are flexible enough to smoothly work with them. The caning begins with taking a few rushes and twining them like a rope. Four to six hours are needed to make a chair seat.

 

Community

Rien Stuijts is a cane chair weaver in Zundert. He is one of the few cane chair weavers in the Netherlands who actively passes his craft on to others. He gets assignments from people who want their chairs repaired. He is in close contact with various suppliers of rattan, cane, paper cord and sea grass. He buys the rushes from a special rushes dealer.

 

History

Chair seats made of woven natural products, were already used more than 8000 years ago. In the Middle Ages the demand for luxurious seats developed within the aristocracy. Through their expeditions Europeans got to know cane (outside of rattan) and rattan (inside of cane) as materials to cane chairs with. The caning was often done by basket makers and passed on from father to son. The Thonet company invented the technique to bend beech wood under steam. For the so-called Thonet chairs this technique was applied and many of the seats were made of cane. These chair seats with holes gave the cane chair weavers a lot of work. In the beginning of the twentieth century caning and basket making was done in many institutes for the blind throughout Europe. There is still a number of caning workshops in which blind people are active, particularly in Switzerland. After World War II, many Dutch furniture designers designed chairs with elements of artisanal rattan caning. Yet, the number of cane chair weavers drastically dropped from the fifties. Much labour-intensive work went to the Far East in particular. The number of caravan dwellers that practiced caning also decreased rapidly because they could not move around anymore after the travelling ban. The contemporary cane chair weaver is mainly busy repairing chair seats for individuals. There are no major clients left.

 

Contact

De Stoelenmatter
Wernhoutseweg 27
4881GA
Zundert
Website