The History of Grasscloth

What is Grascloth exactly?

The term "grasscloth wallpaper" encompasses a range of natural fabrics that are handwoven from natural plant fibers, including sisal, seagrass, arrowroot, bamboo, and jute.

The fibers are extracted from the plants and allowed to dry in the sunlight. Traditional handwoven looms are employed in the manufacturing process. Typically, this product is crafted in countries such as China, Brazil and Tanzania where the respective grasses are cultivated.

The History of Grasscloth

Grasscloth wallpaper traces its origins to Asia, where natural fibers are intricately woven into rice paper and then applied to walls, offering both insulation for homes and a naturally decorative touch. Archaeological findings reveal the use of natural grasses on walls dating back over 2000 years. In contrast to the costly Silk and Linen Wallpapers of the time, grasscloth, with its affordable natural fibers, found widespread use in households.

By the 17th century, the allure of Silk wallpapers had reached London, where they were imported for adorning luxury houses and mansions. However, a significant shift occurred in the 1960s and 1970s during the rise of hippie culture and a heightened appreciation for eco-friendly materials. Natural wall coverings, characterized by simple weaves and basic colors, gained immense popularity in Europe and America.

The 1990s witnessed a resurgence in demand for ecological and sustainable products, prompting leading wallpaper manufacturers and distributors to introduce more daring designs and a broader spectrum of colors.

The enduring appreciation for sixties and seventies culture persists, fueled in part by television shows like Mad Men, which showcase interior designs from that era, often featuring grasscloth wallpaper prominently.

In the contemporary landscape, manufacturers have an extensive array of options, offering infinite possibilities for new designs that are a far cry from the original wall coverings of previous generations. Modern designs incorporate mixed fibers, metallic dyes, and patterns inspired by parquet designs, reflecting a dynamic evolution in grasscloth wallpaper aesthetics.