The Art and Craft of Straw Work

Straw Plaiting in Gruyère / Canton of Fribourg

Straw plaiting was a very large industry in the region of Gruyère reaching its peak during the 1800s. At this time, approximately 50% of all Swiss straw production came from the canton of Freiburg.


The wheat straw grown in the area could be made into wonderful straw plaits. The wheat straw produced better plait than that made from rye straw. Wheat straw could be bleached to make it a pale cream colour, and dyed into a range of strong colours.


Examples of straw plait, made in the canton can be found at the Gruyerian Museum (Musée Gruyérien), Bulle, at the museum in Charmey, and at the folk museum in Tafers.


The plaiting industry was destroyed by the import into Europe of Chinese, and then Japanese straw plait.

Hubert Boschung, february 1999