Here at Sop Moei Arts we are always trying to express traditional textiles in contemporary ways. Sometimes, this means designing a new fabric altogether. With our new “Job’s Tears” collection, we decided to return to one of the most inspiring textiles among the Pwo Karen – the married woman’s blouse.
When a Karen woman marries, she exchanges the simple white tunic of the un-wed for a richly embroidered and appliqued blouse. This, like all other Karen garments, is traditionally hand-woven on a back-strap loom. The blouse is fashioned from two lengths of cloth, and then embroidered with colorful yarns in geometric designs. Job’s Tears seeds, grown locally amongst the rice on the hill-farms, are then appliqued in bold patterns. The variety of choices for the colorways, embroidery and applique means that each blouse is truly unique and reflects the skills and personality of the woman who wove it.
In planning this collection, we were inspired by the patterns created by the Job’s tears seed applique. The bold contrast of the white seeds against the black, and sometimes blue background, looks both ethnic and contemporary. In our interpretation, the white “seeds” form checks, making the fabric interesting for cushions, handbags or why not a fun table cloth?
The “Job’s Tears” collection is steadily growing, with new colorways and products being added. A wider range of these home furnishings and handbags are now available in our web-shop, as well as in our Chiang Mai and Bangkok shops.