Rattan, after it has been transported from the forest to the city, must undergo several operations before it can be used. The bark, freed of its thorns, is green and filled with sap and the insects that have made it their home. Consequently, it is "washed" in a mixture of palm oil and kerosene heated to a high temperature to remove impurities.
The longest stage is the drying stage: each vine is dried in the sun for a few weeks. The hot bath has already taken some of its green colour away from it, but it is after this stage that we find the beautiful honey colour, characteristic of rattan.
On the left, in bulk, the green rattan before washing and drying.
Drying, in the open air.
The rattan is then sorted, by variety, size and quality of course, but also to determine its characteristics. A long, dense and thick cane will be ideal for the basic structure of a seat. A finer rattan, whose fibres will be less tight, can be bent into an almost perfect circle to become a base, a square, a scroll that will hold all the different parts together. Some varieties will be made into laces, cut or split according to the demand and imagination of the men who will work them.
The skills and experience they have acquired over the years are fully expressed here as they make the most of all these natural resources without throwing anything away.
You can use the cane as it is, as in the "Vintage" style: you can see irregularities such as growth knots, some traces or stains left by nature during its life in the forest, and after it is bent, you see slight folds, like wrinkled skin.
The bark of the rattan can be removed with peeling knives adapted to obtain a lighter, almost white beige cane. Once it is polished, you obtain a cane with no irregularities, simple to work with and easy to tint. The bark thus harvested, called "Strands", will be rolled up and either used to join two parts of a seat or, simply, for decoration, or to make scrolls of cane with very different patterns.
Some debarked canes (those from which the bark has been removed) can also be passed through what, for rattan is the equivalent of a spaghetti machine, to obtain thin branches called "rattan core" of different shapes (round, oval or flat). They will be used to weave baskets or panels that can be inserted into a structure or glued to a support.
At the top, rattan with its bark.
|The ONDE mirror with its woven rattan core frame.|
After this long preparation and careful sorting, the manufacturer will purchase different kinds of rattan products.
A 50 kg bundle of Rattan or 50 sticks of Rattan from the Kalimantan region, of the Manau variety, with a diameter of 30/32 mm, and of grade A (with a minimum of stain defects or knots) will be used for the main structure of a seat. A bundle of the Tohiti variety from Sulawesi, with a smaller diameter of 16/18mm, and of B or C quality will be perfect for creating supports, crosspieces or brackets on the less visible parts of a piece of furniture.
It is thus up to the manufacturer to diversify their products so that all the varieties available and therefore harvested are used, to avoid destabilising the eco-system.
Orchid Edition is clearly part of this dynamic: several different varieties used on the same model, several techniques used, the correct material used, in the correct place.