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  • Writer's pictureAnnie

Working with Muka

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Muka is an amazing fibre that comes from harakeke, or flax. It has many traditional uses for Māori, just one if which is binding for jewellery.


I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful source of muka from my mother in law, Linda Scott. Linda is a master weaver working in Te Whanganui-a-tara, Wellington. She harvests the harakeke and extracts the muka by hand, a slow and mindful process, using a mussel shell that preserves the long strands of muka while stripping away the green harakeke.


Muka fibres are incredibly strong, especially when rolled or braided together into rope. They are also a creamy white colour that takes dye very well.







Check out this video on how to work it:


It takes some practice to get the twist even, mine is far from it!

From here I would just knot the ends together to slip the pounamu over my head, or maybe make a silver catch for it.

If it gets bent or kinked you can wet it again and hang it to straighten out.














Linda made this beautiful Rapaki (short cloak) for my daughter Saoirse. It is almost entirely muka, some twisted with dried harakeke left at the ends for that ubiquitous clacking sound, and some dyed with natural plant dyes and woven into the patterns around the top.


This is just the tiniest taster of how to use muka, but hopefully it will be of some use in your jewellery making practice!


Ngā mihi,

Annie


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