Last week Common Texture travelled to Thailand to attend the Chiang Mai Crafts Fair 2017. The spectacular weather was a great back drop for all that was on offer in this laid back city.
First up were these lovely intricate indigo pieces. A typical fabric dyeing technique used here is 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 here in the video will eventually be the white sections amongst 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.
Another 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.
Traditionally these decorative perforated fabrics are used in Buddhist temples and for various festivals celebrated throughout the Thai calendar.
The Crafts Festival 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.
Umbrella making from Bo Sang Village, the makers of these beautiful Umbrellas use a special paper called Saa paper, this 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. These 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.
Embroideries from the hill tribes were also on display; beautiful skilled techniques in white cotton against indigo blues. Bright reds and pinks and some very modern clothing enhanced with this ancient technique was also a hit with the festival goers.
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 for future Common Texture projects.