Wicker is the process of weaving natural materials like willow, rattan, cane, bamboo into various patterns. Wicker furniture is made from weaving interlaced slender branches around a frame and molding it into desired shapes such as tables, chairs, bed or sofas. Most wicker furniture is manufactured by hand and they originate from Southeast Asia, mainly Indonesia, Philippines and China. Wicker furniture became popular in the Victorian era, as its smooth surfaces and clean lines were believed to be more clean and hygienic than upholstered furniture.
Wicker furniture can be broadly classified into two categories: loom woven and synthetic wicker furniture. Loom woven wicker pieces use natural materials such as rattan, cane or bamboo. These materials are dipped in resin emulsions to form a moisture resistant shield. Synthetic wicker furniture is made from hand-woven polyethylene, fiber glass or resin, a material that resembles natural wicker and is washable, waterproof, colorfast, and ultraviolet and frost-resistant.
Synthetic woven furniture usually has aluminum frames for increased strength and durability. It often contains UV inhibitors that repel the damaging effects of the sun, harsh weather and temperature changes. Some variety of wicker furniture is dipped in a special coating to resist fading and reduce flaking and cracking.
Wicker furniture is available in natural, stained or painted surfaces. It offers comfort, durability, versatility and livability. Because of its natural finish and color, it mixes well with upholstered pieces. It is popular as outdoor and patio furniture because it is easy to clean and is lightweight.
Wicker furniture can last for several years, provided a little bit of care is taken with its upkeep. Although wicker furniture is easy to maintain and attracts less dust, it is advisable to vacuum or dust the furniture regularly and treat it with furniture polish. A layer of lacquer should be applied for restoring its finish.