Halfa 101 – Reintroducing this Charming Material
Ellie has always cherished handmade products with materials that come straight from the Earth, and our Halfa line is just that. Plucked from Egyptian soil, gathered, selected, and cleaned by locals in Dashur. They are then woven into beautiful creations by the hands of talented Egyptian women. This special basketry is done using age-old techniques and weaving skills handed down through generations of women in Dahshur.
Halfa is one of our favorite materials to use, for so many reasons and we’re inviting you to learn more about this hidden gem, found right here in Dahshur, Egypt.
Characteristics of Halfa
Halfa is a strong, flexible, fibrous grass that is native to Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Spain, and Portugal. Basically, from the Arabian Peninsula to Western Algeria. The texture of Halfa is wooden-like with hard serrated edges and its color is green, almost yellow. From an agricultural point of view, Halfa is viewed as agricultural waste. It is essential to be removed because it absorbs most of the water from the soil which as a result, harms other plants which are left without sufficient water supply. This makes Halfa the most aggressive weeds in agricultural fields.
From Waste to Beauty
In order for Halfa to be used in making products, it is first gathered, then it is left out to dry. After that, it is soaked in water in order to get it to soften, and then it is twined, and finally, it is ready to be shaped in order to create products.
The number of products that can be created using Halfa is limitless! It is used to create placemats, coasters, mats, and different sizes and shapes of baskets, that can be used for so many purposes such as storage or decor.
For centuries, Halfa has been utilized and used in order to make several products. However, the craft of using Halfa has only begun to become more well known in Egypt in recent years.
Why did Ellie choose Halfa?
Where should we start? Encouraging the usage of materials more sustainably? Promoting Egyptian techniques that are on the verge of extinction? Empowering women? Sign us up NOW! This is what Ellie is really all about, authenticity, sustainability, and supporting local crafts along with their creators.
Halfa enabled us to reuse a material that was disregarded and was often thrown away, then create unique, functional, and aesthetically pleasing pieces out of it. It is also a material with so many health benefits, as well as, community benefits.
In the past, now, and moving forward, Ellie’s essence and purpose are driven towards creating products and collections that reflect a strong commitment to heritage, quality, and beauty, as well as a dedication to supporting local artisans, all the while promoting a more sustainable lifestyle. And Halfa gives us the opportunity to do just that.