Maguey Fiber

AGAVE / IXTLE / MAGUEY FIBER

Agave stands out by its low density, high tenacity, and high moisture absorbency in comparison with other leaf fibers. The fibers of the plant are long and biodegradable. Therefore, their flexibility to be manufactured from threads to technical applications is endless. Agave plants have to grow for three years before they can be harvested. Commonly known to extract Tequila, they have an 8-30 years lifespan; each year, an average of between 40-50 leaves are obtained from each plant. From a hectare, 6 tons of fiber can be extracted. Its color ranges from milky white to golden yellow, making its dying relatively docile.

Once the leaves are ready for extraction, the thorns and the leaf’s spine are removed; the leaves have to be thoroughly washed before drying. An accurate drying is needed because it will affect the fiber’s moisture and quality. They can be dried either in the sun, shade or artificially; the latter, will contain a higher fiber. Only the shade-dried fibers will be almost white as they are not dyed by the sun. The dried fibers will be combed, sorted by grades, and packed.

DIFFERENCE TO FIQUE FIBER

The zero-waste movement has had a lot to do with rescuing natural materials and fibers, but I feel it is an issue with two sides. On the one hand, we are supporting their recovery, but on the other, their exploitation.”

Lissete Montealegre, a Mexico City resident whose online zero-waste store sells ixtle items. This tension highlights a contradiction at the heart of the movement for sustainable products.

Explore items using maguey fibers

Both Colombian design brands Mola Sasa as well as Matamba are using the natural fiber as a material for for jewelry as well as bags.