My Hemp Discovery

I'm sure that some of you are raising your eyebrows as I wax euphoric about my discovery of hemp. But rest easy, I am talking about hemp fibers, as in hemp fabric. If you are an artisan who likes antiques, you start to pay attention to which items stand the test of time and which rot and decay faster. Of course, you want to choose materials that have longevity if you are an artist. And does hemp fabric ever have are some random writings shared from the web. Gentle Reader, it is up to the you to ascertain what is fact and what might be fiction... but it's certainly interesting reading!

San Diego Earth Times states "Hemp was the first plant known to have have been domestically cultivated. The oldest relic of human history is hemp fabric dated to 8,000 BC from ancient Mesopotamia, an are in present-day Turkey."

Hemp Sisters has a historical timeline showing the use of hemp.

  • 1470's Gutenberg Bible is printed on hemp paper.

  • 1600 Rembrandt paints on hemp canvas.

  • 1611 King James Bible is printed on hemp paper.

  • 1631 to early 1800's Hemp is 'legal tender' and taxes may be paid with hemp throughout most of the Americas.

  • 1763 - 1767 Farmers who do not grow hemp can be arrested and jailed in Virginia.

  • 1776 First and second drafts of the Declaration of Independence are written on hemp paper.

Hemp states has a page detailing the history of hemp in early America...stating that the first American flag was made from hemp fiber. Lots more interesting reading there!

At this point, you are probably thinking, "Hmmmmm. What's Dixie been up to? Why the passion about hemp? Should I be concerned?" Fear not, gentle reader. No wacky weed usage going on here. ;-) Having been dissatisfied with modern muslin, I was searching for a fabric that has the feel of old homespun and muslin. I have found a heavy weight fabric that has the feel of homespun at Hemp Traders. It's the 5.7 oz. hemp/cotton muslin. It is too heavy for intricate work, but is great for body parts that will need strength in the stuffing process. There are also some choices for hemp linen which I'm going to try next as a possibility for the intricate parts of the doll (hands/fingers). Finding out that hemp was integral in the early history of our country underlines for me that it is a good choice to use in making antique inspired dolls. Here's a picture of my prototype doll (no clay additions as of yet). She was made with hemp fabric, with the exception of the arms, which were vintage muslin. Almost done!


Doreen Frost said...

OOOO..sounds great Dixie! I will have to put an order in and try this Hemp fabric. What a very interesting history of hemp...I had no idea!

Have a great day,

Anonymous said...

Look at that doll coming along...she's looking pretty cute! Interesting on the fabric Dixie, I need to head over and leave my email with you.

Unknown said...

WOW !!!!!!!! I LOVE her Dixie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bought a small table cloth at a church thrift store last week. Do you use hemp on a doll body, cause i was going to use it as a dress?

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden