Bringing Ancient Chinese Straw Plaiting Into the 21st Century

An independent online store is helping preserve a thousand year Chinese tradition.

Shanghai, China, July 31, 2015 –(– For over 1000 years, women in the Shandong Province in China have been using the reeds of a wetland plant to craft household items and clothing. While this technique has largely been contained within this small country town in China, the items created with this timeless tradition are now becoming available to the outside world through an online store, GrasShanghai.

Known as cattail plaiting, the ancient technique comes from Hubin, a small countryside town north of Beijing and is a way for women of the community to bond, as well as be financially independent and socially bonded.

The store, created by Betty Tian Ping (who originates from Hubin), is a way to both share the technique of cattail plaiting with the world, and also to preserve her local community in Shandong, as well as their ancient traditions which are fast becoming lost in a heavily modernized world.

Cattail weaving – an ancient Chinese craft
During the summer, men from the countryside collect cattails that grow in shallow waters of the lakes, rivers and wetlands of Hubin, then transport them back to the village. Women of the family will then take out the fresh plants and lay them out on houses and roads to dry by sunlight. The dried plants are then filtered according to quality, and stored in homes for use. Piece by piece, women will then take the plant and soak it in water until it is soft enough for weaving.

Part of the daily life in Hubin, every day women will rise to make breakfast for the family, then all the women in the neighbourhood will gather at a home in the community, on in the Hutong (a traditional Chinese alleyway) to work together, weaving crafts while talking, laughing and gossiping. The technique is passed down from mother to daughter, and for hundreds of years has helped support the women of Hubin.

About GrasShanghai
GrasShanghai sells homeware and clothing, hand-woven with cattails by the local community in Hubin. Each product goes through a 3 month production process from the collection of the cattails to the finished craft.

The product range is organic and locally produced, and includes coffee tables, area rugs, yoga cushions, and slippers – all handwoven by the local community.

Etsy Store:
For more information please contact Betty Tian:
Contact Information
Betty Tian