Bent grass or marram grass

Marram grass growing on machair, Isle of LewisThis coastal plant was used to make various types of island basket on both the Western and Northern isles as coiled baskets. Sometimes the grass was also used, twined, as the stitching on these baskets. It was also used for brushes, ropes, grain sacks, horse collars and pack saddle pads, mats, chair seating and nets.  The roots were used as pot scrubbers in the Western Isles. The grass was stored in Shetland by plaiting it and then drying.

Marram grass sacks for other uses

The Reverend John Lane Buchanan noted from the 1780s in the Outer Hebrides that ‘Every beggar, male and female, must carry their blankets on their backs in a kind of sack made of grass, from house to house to sleep …Continue reading “Marram grass sacks for other uses”

Marram Grass for brushes

Sguab Murain (marram grass brush). Comunn Eachdraidh Siabost, Lewis

This brush uses a combination of twined grass to create the handle and the bundles of rush as the sweeping part of the brush.

Marram Grass Roots as Pot Scrubbers

Marram Grass Pot Scrubber. Uig Historical Society Museum.

  This pot scrubber is in the Uig Historical Society Museum, Isle of Lewis. It was made by taking the roots where the sand had been blown off them on the dunes, and then rubbing them together to from a …Continue reading “Marram Grass Roots as Pot Scrubbers”

A handled ciosan on Great Bernera


Ciosan made of marram grass courtesy of Bernera Museum, Isle of Great Bernera, Western Isles This ciosan is of particular significance because of it having a handle. It is made of marram grass and we know that this marram grass was …Continue reading “A handled ciosan on Great Bernera”

Bent Grass/Marram as part of the landscape

Marram grass growing on machair, Isle of Lewis

Marram grass growing on machair, Isle of Lewis The marram grass was cut from dunes. The photo shows marram grass, with the fine upright leaves, among the flowers of the machair. The machair is the fertile strip of land lying …Continue reading “Bent Grass/Marram as part of the landscape”


The ciosan  The ciosan is a small, closely woven basket, formerly made on the Western Isles and along the west coast. It is a coiled basket made from sea-bent (marram grass), or sometimes straw. The coils are stitched together using …Continue reading “Ciosan”

Grain sack from South Uist

Similar to the plata-mhuilinn, this South Uist grain sack from Carnan is also woven from bent grass. It has 2 twisted grass handles rather than the eight handles of the Monach Island basket. It is similarly made from one flat …Continue reading “Grain sack from South Uist”


The plata-mhuilinn was a form of grain basket from `Heisker’, or the Monach Isles, which lie to the west of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.It is made from bent grass, or marram. Growing abundantly on the island dunes, bent …Continue reading “Plata-mhuilinn”