KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Here in Tennessee, we are lucky to have a lot of artists and crafters who make interesting and beautiful items. Everything from pottery to dulcimers to jewelry and quilts.
A man in Crossville has his own take on weaving.
What looks like tiny tiles were actually once Ramen noodle wrappers. In the hands of Luis Rives they became a basket.
For 17 years, he's created baskets and purses and even tiny shoes at his home in Crossville.
His material of choice is heavy paper like lawn bags along with colorful cellophane he calls plastic.
Luis grew up on a small island near Cuba where his father taught him a particular folding and weaving technique with giant leaves.
Those plants don't grow in Tennessee but it's easy to find some sturdy paper.
"Now I open the paper, I grab the plastic, and put it over here," he said as he demonstrated.
He creates individual pieces then hooks them together, tucking the single folded sides into the double folded sides. Then he uses a flat tool to pull yarn through the pieces to lock them together.
His neighbor, Cody Craine, helped unroll and then hold up Luis' biggest creation yet. His wife, Maria Morales, also had to lend a hand. It's heavy.
"I call it a blanket. It took seven months to make this. I cut the papers and you can see my finger broken because the paper cut my fingers," Luis said.
It took seven months to make and features 365,040 folded pieces.
The woven patterns show his faith with the message: Our home is just a little house but God knows where we live.
It displays crosses inside hearts and a church topped with a cross.
He said it is more than six feet tall and eight feet wide. Luis would like to earn a spot for it in the Guinness Book of World records.
It is a blanket made with small pieces of plastic and paper along with large amounts of patience and love.
His folding and weaving projects are just a hobby - but he does sell some of his items to friends who then take them to flea markets.