What is Wicker?
Wicker is a weaving process, not a material. The primary material used for indoor furniture is rattan. Rattan is one of the oldest natural materials used to make furniture. Rattan is a solid timber vine that grows in the tropical rain forests of Indonesia, South-East Asia and the Malay Archipelago. Unlike bamboo which is hollow, Rattan is solid. Large "broomhandle" sized poles are used to make the frame of the furniture. They are steamed, put into a form of whatever is the desired shape and left to cool. When cool they remain in that shape. The large poles can be processed down to any smaller size. When you see a rattan sofa the frame should be made of a strong, solid, "broom handle" sized poles. This frame is then finished to one of many different available colors. To make "wicker" furniture we take the same type of pole rattan frame described above and we weave and attach the smaller size pieces (wicker) onto the outside of the frame. This process of weaving and attaching the smaller pieces to the outside of the pole rattan frame requires additional raw material and additional labor. That is why most woven (wicker) furniture is more costly than pole rattan furniture. When making outdoor furniture the frames are or should be made of aluminum. Steel will rust, and pole rattan is porous and will absorb moisture and eventually deteriorate. Aluminum does not rust and should be finished to match the color of the furniture. Synthetic, non-pourous, vinyls and resins are then hand woven and attached over the aluminum frames; this is referred to as synthetic wicker. With today's materials and technology you may have indoor and outdoor wicker products almost any way you want it, including indoor and outdoor fabrics and stuffings as well.