Towards the end of this entry is terrific image from the book I bought last year, Visage de la Touraine. It shows a local man carrying out the lost art of rope-making beside a river in the South Touraine ~ perhaps it is the Creuse(?).
Ropes (their look, smell and simplicity combined with incredible strength) and the art of plating fibrous materials has always fascinated me. However I never get past the simple art of plating garlic and onions!
Rope making used to be a huge cottage industry across Europe there are still tell-tale signs here and there – for example “Ropewalk” is a common place or road name found in most English towns and cities of any age. In the Touraine town of Loches there is a medeval entrance named Porte des Cordeliers ~ as you can see from the image, left, the approach is a long straight road – perhaps it is where they worked, or, maybe, the gateway is named after their Guild? As ropewalks (long lanes where the rope was platted ~ rather like in the image below) became commercialised they famous for being sweatshops and, because the dust from the hemp that was used was explosive, there were frequent, dangerous fires.Links: There are many videos of rope making by hand on YouTube ~ my favourite is one of kids having a great time creating their own rope click here. Click to go to a site with lots of links and information if you fancy having a go at making ropes in your own home! And you can download a boy scout guide to making ropes by hand using a simple machine ~ looks quite interesting, why not give it a go!