The "Heritage" Collection

This month, our web-shop promotion highlights our “Heritage” collection - cushion covers and runners created from motifs which are distinctive to ethnic groups in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.  While we also weave textiles unique to the Karen people that we work with, we like to include other regional patterns in our work; it is our way to provide additional support for the weavers that we employ.  It also breathes new life into the disappearing heritage of ethnic minorities - something we care deeply about.

We use these patterns in our handbags, wall hangings and scarves.  But perhaps the best canvas for showcasing the full beauty of these patterns is in our cushion covers and runners, and it is for this reason that we have selected these items for our February web-shop promotion.

(From left to right: "Arakan check", "Chenille contrast" and "Jarai diamond")

Each textile in this collection has a story and we would like to share a few of them here.  The “Jarai Diamond” pattern, for instance, comes from the Jarai ethnic group living in the central highlands of Vietnam.  The diamond shape can be found repeated in complicated and simple forms in the garments of Jarai women, and even woven into the fine, delicate baskets created by Jarai men.  Sadly, much of the culture of the Jarai people was destroyed during the Vietnam war, and today fine samples of Jarai textiles and baskets are found only in museums or antique shops.  But here in north-west Thailand the motif has found new life in the textiles produced by our Karen weavers.

Another textile is the long-time customer favourite “Nan Flower".  We found it many years ago as a silk scarf, for sale in a Vientiane market.  As a scarf it was but one of many motifs, but for the sake of simplicity we isolated just this one pattern, and repeated it through the entire width of the textile.  For the cushions and runners in this collection we feature half of the pattern.  This creates a new look, almost a new pattern.  And to offer a variation, you will find some cushions made from the reverse side of the textile, which is just as beautiful and interesting as the front.

 

(The reverse side of the "Nan Flower" textile)

A later addition to our "Heritage" collection is the “Lao Naga” textile. The inspiration comes from Laos - a vintage sarong, rather chaotically put together in a riot of colours.  As is often the case, we use interesting fabrics like this as a springboard for a simpler application.  The “Lao Naga” pattern features in our wall hangings and handbags as well, but we like it best in its uncomplicated cushion form.

(The talented Sudah, weaving our intricate "Lao Naga" textile)

Finally, we come to a pattern which came about in an entirely fortuitous way - a pattern that we call “Cotton check”.  The weaver who created this textile lives in a remote mountain village - without telephone connection - and when she forgot her warping instructions, she came up with this textile.  It was a serendipitous surprise for us, but it also resulted in one of our most versatile and best-selling fabrics.  We use this textile for cushions, handbags, tablemats, runners, bedspreads, drapes and upholstery.

(Our serendipitous "Cotton check" textile, in two variations)   

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank so many of you who have supported us, especially during this on-going pandemic.  Our work has been greatly affected by the market loss of tourism in Thailand, but we hope that we can continue to provide work for our weavers during this time, and to develop new and interesting textiles as time moves forward.

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