Today I visited Makulata a local Samoan Siapo maker. Makulata lives in a remote village named Siutu in Savaii. Through the help of Samoan socialite Steve Brown, I was able to track down a lesson on Siapo making. Siapo is a natural fabric or paper fiber made from mulberry bark. At the conclusion of a skillful two-hour session session of scrapping and beating the mulberry bark a surprisingly long length of fabric appeared approximately 1.5 meters by 5 meters.
Today Siapo is just used for decorative purposes, or as tourist souvenirs that travelers purchase. However, back before the missionaries arrived in Samoa, Samoans would dress in Siapo, completely natural and biodegradable clothing.
Once again another inspiring sustainable design experience. You really have to praise the work of cultural preservationists and historians who assist in documenting and preserving these traditional practices. It is traditional practices like Siapo making that I am attempting to learn from.