The last few leaves, and some steps of processing!
<-Here I am, straightening leaves on the edge of my table. I start at the base and pull while holding the leaf down with a damp cloth, till I get the tip.... then turn over and do the other side. And then do that a couple more times till the midrib softens. Below is before and after the first pass.
I will still have to strip out the midrib before I strip the leaves prior to weaving. Below-left is a bamboo stripper hand-made by my kumu's father. Below-right is the one leaf I stripped. Great care has to be taken to remove as little leaf as possible because the best part of the leaf is next to the midrib. The thickness of the leaf decreases as you get near the edge, so the edges are usually discarded.
Below are pics so you can see that the "right" side is the shiny upper side of the leaf, and the "wrong" side is the dull underside.
And the final product.... I arranged them by width. And now, what shall we make?
The clothespins are so they don't unravel. I removed them before they left an imprint on the leaf. They are waiting in a brown paper bag in the garage.