The process of creating our beautiful handmade products starts with the raw materials. Lutindzi is the original material of Gone Rural and is used in almost every product in our range. The journey begins when this fibrous grass is harvested by women in the mountains of Swaziland. Our production team purchases the grass and takes it back to our workshop in Malkerns, where it is dyed by a team of colour specialists. The dyed grass is then bundled and delivered to one of our 13 weaving groups with an order for specific pieces. Our skilled artisans weave the pieces from home, often teaching younger generations their techniques as they work. A few weeks later, the production team returns to purchase the finished products from each group, and brings them back to the Gone Rural workshop for packaging, labelling and set-making. The final products are distributed to our shops in Swaziland and shipped to our customers all around the world.
The two methods used to create Gone Rural's products are the plaiting technique and the Lavumisa technique. Both of these traditional methods are unique to Swaziland, and have been passed on from generation to generation. The plaiting technique, which has been used since Gone Rural's inception, is used to create some our most popular pieces, including placemats, coasters, and bread baskets. It involves using a dyed fibre, such as lutindzi, which is braided into long strands. These plaits are then woven, coiled, shaped, and sewn together to create a range of products. The Lavumisa technique is a tighter, stitched weave where fibres are spun around bundles of a stiff grass called lukhasi and sewn together to create sturdy shapes. This method is only used by groups in the Lavumisa area of Swaziland, where weavers have mastered their craft over many generations.