Wicker and Rattan: Not Created Equal
Alright lovely ladies and gents. It’s time to end this discussion once and for all.
Rattan is not wicker. Wicker is not rattan.
Let me clarify...
Rattan is the name for roughly 600 species of Old World Climbing Palms. Rattan canes are one of the world's most valuable non-timber forest products. The inner core can be separated and worked into a weaving material. Wicker is the weaving method the material is used for.
Rattan is used in furniture in many different ways. It is not always woven into a wicker. Wicker can be made of rattan but also of bamboo, willow, reed and synthetic fibers.
So the material may be rattan and the weave of the furniture piece may be wicker but they are not interchangeable. We get asked all the time "is this like wicker?". Here is your answer.
Wicker is an ancient weaving technique that became popular after rattan was imported to Europe.
Wicker is a weaving technique that dates back to ancient Egypt—in fact, wickerwork items have been found in Pharaohs’ tombs. Reeds and swamp grasses were traditionally used in wicker weaves. Over the centuries, wicker became more and more popular and exploded in Europe during the Age of Exploration when rattan began to be imported from Asia. Because rattan is more durable than many of the other materials previously used in the region, it quickly became the material of choice for wickerwork. In contemporary times, wicker became popular again during the Arts and Crafts movement and is emblematic of the style today. Today, wickerwork is made using natural materials like willow, rattan, reed, and bamboo, as well as synthetic fibers like vinyl and resin. - BobVilla.com
Cane is part of the rattan plant and is often woven into webbing.
While rattan furnishings are generally made using the core of the rattan vine, cane is derived by peeling off the outer skin. It is typically woven into webbing and used as a decorative finish for wood furniture. Cane is flexible yet durable, which has made it popular for crafting chair seats. Due to its open weave, cane webbing is also often used for creating ornamental accents on cabinet doors and headboards. Rattan is porous and easily damaged by moisture, but cane is water repellent and can be wiped of spills without causing any damage.
We find textiles, where our materials are sourced from and the various uses fascinating - don't you? Want to see what all the rattan hype is about? Come by and see us at Auden and Avery in Charleston, SC.