(pronounced kayn / kayn WEB-ing)
Though caning refers to the corporeal punishment still meted out by the Singapore government, we’re referring to something much more benign and certainly more desirable. First off, cane is what you can probably guess it is: a long stick – a version of what your grandpa uses to keep his balance. But cane (as opposed to “a” cane) derives from the tough stems of certain plants, and it is commonly referred to as rattan. The bark (what’s able to be peeled off) of the rattan – that is then intricately and artfully woven together to form a very strong mesh material – is called rattan cane webbing. (The skills required to make cane webbing are some of the same skills required to make basketry.) As the word cane can also be used to refer to various reeds and tall woody grasses, an array of types of cane webbing exist beyond rattan. But what is its purpose? For years, cane webbing has been used to create attractive furniture seats and backs. The webbing is made into rolls and then it is cut and bent around wooden frames and secured. Depending on the desired look, the webbing can be bleached for a more uniform appearance or left natural for a variegated appearance and durable performance.