Straw weaving in the Freiamt


Category:
Traditional craftsmanship
  • Social practices
Canton:

Description

The Freiamt region of Switzerland is famous for its straw culture. It is thought that the craft of straw weaving first arrived in Switzerland from Italy in the 16th century. Straw weaving was practised at home until the 20th century. The straw barons exported various hat models and the well-known Freiamt trimmings around the whole world. Regional patterns were carefully protected and passed down through the generations. The practice of straw weaving and creating new patterns and designs continues to this day. The highly popular tradition of straw weaving is preserved by the 'Strohmuseum im Park' and the 'stroh-in-form' organisation, which was founded in 2010 and has around fifty active members throughout Switzerland, as well as a broad international network. Thanks to its qualities as a cheap natural product, straw played an important role in the Freiamt region beyond its use for weaving. In Wohlen, for instance, the Fasnacht celebrations are opened with the 'Strauschnitt' (straw cutting) ceremony, while the Berchtold's Day (2nd January) celebrations in Hallwil feature the 'Straumaa' (straw man).

Image gallery

  • Straw star consisting of Freiamt elements © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach, 2011
  • Straw brooch in the Freiamt straw weaving style © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach
  • Straw heart woven for the 'Mit Herz am Maienzug' campaign © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach
  • Various buttons tied together around a rose to make the 'Chnöpfli-Stern' © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach
  • A panama hat woven from whole straws © Ottilia Leemann, Oberwil-Lieli
  • Ottilia Leemann decorating her hat model called 'Elan' with various trimmings © Ottilia Leemann, Oberwil-Lieli
  • A lady's hat woven from whole straws and decorated with straw ornaments © Ottilia Leemann, Oberwil-Lieli
  • Straw splitters divide straw into equal-sized strips, while comb-like tools are used to produce ornaments © Desiree Hess, Oberwil-Lieli, 2011
  • Chaff comb and straw splitter; the straw is pressed through one of the five holes © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach, 2011
  • Market in Bremgarten's historical centre: a straw weaver demonstrating a stage in the production of straw hats © Karin Janz, Bremgarten, 2011
  • Straw star consisting of Freiamt elements © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach, 2011
  • Straw brooch in the Freiamt straw weaving style © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach
  • Straw heart woven for the 'Mit Herz am Maienzug' campaign © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach
  • Various buttons tied together around a rose to make the 'Chnöpfli-Stern' © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach
  • A panama hat woven from whole straws © Ottilia Leemann, Oberwil-Lieli
  • Ottilia Leemann decorating her hat model called 'Elan' with various trimmings © Ottilia Leemann, Oberwil-Lieli
  • A lady's hat woven from whole straws and decorated with straw ornaments © Ottilia Leemann, Oberwil-Lieli
  • Straw splitters divide straw into equal-sized strips, while comb-like tools are used to produce ornaments © Desiree Hess, Oberwil-Lieli, 2011
  • Chaff comb and straw splitter; the straw is pressed through one of the five holes © Doris Häfliger, Erlinsbach, 2011
  • Market in Bremgarten's historical centre: a straw weaver demonstrating a stage in the production of straw hats © Karin Janz, Bremgarten, 2011

Video

References and documentation

Publications
  • Guido Bruggisser: Etwas über die aargauische Hutflechtindustrie. In: Schweizer Volkskunde. Korrespondenzblatt der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Volkskunde 47. Basel, 1957, p. 86-92

  • Monique Helfer: Eine Industrie nimmt den Hut. Aufschwung, Krisen und Untergang der schweizerischen Stroh- und Hutgeflechtindustrie zwischen 1800 und 1974. Lizentiatsarbeit an der Universität Bern. Bern, 2010

  • Interview mit Ottilia Leemann (Vorstandsmitglied des Vereins «Stroh in Form») vom 28. April 2011, in Oberwil-Lieli. Aargauer Kuratorium, Aarau

  • Interview mit Anna Hegi (Leiterin Freiämter Strohmuseum) vom 11. Juli 2011, in Wohlen. Aargauer Kuratorium, Aarau

  • Interview mit Doris Häfliger (ehemalige Leiterin der damaligen Interessengruppe und aktive Strohflechterin) vom 19. August 2011 im Aargauer Kuratorium. Aargauer Kuratorium, Aarau

  • Dieter Kuhn, Anton Wohler, Marcela Hohl, Birgit Littman: Strohzeiten. Geschichte und Geschichten der aargauischen Strohindustrie. Aarau, 1991

  • Kurszentrum Ballenberg (Ed.): Handwerk. Katalog zur Ausstellung «Vom Halm zum Hut» in der «Bleichi» Wohlen, 2010. Altdorf, 2010

  • Veronica Main: Zauberhaftes Stroh. Herstellungstechniken aus dem Freiamt. 2003 (Vertrieb: Freiämter Strohmuseum)

  • Gottliebe Rodel: Die Technik in der Freiämter, Seetaler und Obwaldner Strohflechterei. Beschreibung der alten Geräte und Apparate zur Herstellung von Stroh- und Rosshaararbeiten. Bern, 1949

Documentation
  • Strohflechten

    Ausführliche Beschreibung Last modification: 31.05.2018
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