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Craft Techniques

Chuspata/Tule Reeds

Tule or chuspata fiber is the common name given to aquatic reeds, a family of grasses that grow in wetlands throughout Mexico. This grass is strong and fiborous and has been used for generations to weave baskets, furniture and decorative pieces.

The process begins by cutting the chuspata and leaving it to dry out over four or five days. Next, the leaves are thoroughly cleaned and lightly moistened to regain their malleability to facilitate the weaving process.

There are different techniques to weave chuspata; it can be woven using the twill technique, a type of weave that generates flat diagonal intersecting lines. It can also be twisted (a process similar to spinning wool) to create twine that is then woven into simple structures of warp and weft chuspata fiber. Another technique is called the spiral, which begins by forming rolls of tulle that are wrapped around metal or wood structures also lined with tule to create solid objects like trays, benches or chairs.

In Mexico chuspata or tule is woven in different communities such as those that surround Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán, in the lakes of Jalisco, and the wetlands of the State of Mexico, Puebla and Coahuila.
 

Tule or chuspata fiber is the common name given to aquatic reeds, a family of grasses that grow in wetlands throughout Mexico.