Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm still here

Its been a little quiet here for the past few months.

Resting has been a necessity rather than an option.

But 2014 promises new things and new making.

I have been making progress slowly on a few things. There has been some knitting, some dyeing and there will be some crochet to come.

I've been to a few museums recently. The Asian Civilisation Museum has some textile treasures.

This long timber piece with ornate mother of pearl ends is labelled as a 'warp beam winder'. Its from Cambodia and is early 20th century. As far as I can work out this is what the warp is wound onto and then it is placed at the back of loom under tension and as more warp is needed its wound out. More info on Cambodian silk weaving here and here. You can see a large beam like this at the back of some of the looms. And for interest, this site shows you how to make your own reed from bamboo if you want to.

These are embroidered collars from the Hmong culture, mid 20th century, from Northern Thailand. Clearer examples of the wonderful geometric embroidery here. The collars are worn at the back of the neck as part of a jacket.

This is a batik apron from the Miao of Yunnan in China, early 20th century. The central panel is batik while the sides are woven.

This looks like an apron but it is a baby-carrier from the Hmong of Chiang Mai. It dates from 2005 which is obvious when you notice the Doraemon fabric around the edges! The central panel is embroidered with a type of cross-stitch in geometric motifs.

These are waist ties from West Sumatra and were made in the late 19th and early 20th century. I would guess these are woven using a backstrap loom like this. The label says these are worn by men of Minangkabau and are symbolic of a male's ties to his nieces and nephews in a matrilineal culture.

This beautiful but hard to photograph piece is tapestry woven. Apparently tapestry weaving is rare in south-east asia. This piece is a skirt worn by Maranao royalty from Western Mindanao in the early 20th century. It is made of silk and because it has yellow it means it was worn by royal women because yellow is reserved for royalty in Moro communities and in Malay societies in south-east asia.

I'm currently reading this fabulous book on Prehistoric Textiles which is making me notice more about the textiles around me. Pre-historic people were weaving some very sophisticated fabrics and garments by 5000BC with patterns, multiple colours, fringing, beads and lace inserts. I hope one day to be as skilled as them with my weaving!

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