Last week Common Texture traveled to Thailand to attend the Chiang Mai Crafts Fair. The spectacular weather was a great back drop for all that was on offer in this laid back city.
The traditional craft of indigo dyeingFirst up were these lovely intricate indigo pieces. We captured the typical fabric dyeing technique used here called resist dye in indigo. Popular with women in hill tribe villages in Northern Thailand. This technique is like a fusion of block print discharge dyeing and Batik free hand patterns.
The pattern seen in the video will eventually be the white sections among the indigo blue. The artisan uses a resin heated on coals in a scoop with a hole. This is used like a pen, once the black pattern is dried it is then dipped into indigo where the resin will resist the color.
The result is a stunning piece. The crafts people will sometimes highlight borders by stitching a thin red strip of fabric to enhance the depth of the indigo. This process has been passed down from generation to generation and are very popular with tourist and textile fans alike.
Handcrafted cutout fabric bordersAnother technique we were introduced to is cutout fabric borders. A 10 meter piece of colored cotton is folded many times, the artisan then uses chisels and a hammer to create the pattern through multiple layers.
Cutout fabric borders at the Chiang Mai Crafts Fair
Cutout tools used to perforate fabrics
Traditionally these decorative perforated fabrics are used in Buddhist temples and for various festivals celebrated throughout the Thai calendar.
The Crafts Fair showed us other ways we could use them and we're very fond of using them as umbrella trimmings. Yet another skill being rejuvenated here at the festival. Exposure of ancient techniques to a new generation of designers is imperative for their survival.
Artisan made umbrellasThe makers of these beautiful umbrellas from Bo Sang Village use a special paper called Saa paper. Saa paper was introduced by a monk from Myanmar to the skilled makers in Bo Sang, Chiang Mai Thailand. This paper has the perfect lightweight and water proof properties needed for an umbrella. The umbrellas are then lacquered and hand painted with your own custom design. Every year they are on display in a spectacular festival for all to be admired.
Handmade embroideriesEmbroideries from Thailand's hill tribes were also on display. This ancient technique when applied to some very modern clothing creates beautiful one of a kind pieces. Another example of traditional crafts mixed with modern design, imperative for their survival.
All in all a great day learning new techniques with great workshops and super networking with the actual artisans from many walks of life. Lots of inspiration and exploring for future Common Texture craft projects.