Posts Tagged ‘weaving

03
Jun
10

Gail Goodwin’s Mingei goodies!

You may know Gail.  She has been working with Mingei for a very long time, is a docent at the Carlos Museum, a writer,  retired teacher at Westminster, extremely active member of the Atlanta International Club– and a number of other organizations!  She also manages to travel extensively and always finds time to scour local markets for hand-made textiles.

Here are a few photos from her home and a few words about why she loves Mingei!

Tired of the Container Store look?  Tired of mall styles dictating your decor?  If you yearn to escape the commercial and reveal your true soul in your home, walk into the spirit-filled space of Mingei World Arts in Decatur.  At Mingei, you will tap into cultural creativity from ethnic groups around the globe.

An old basket sits atop a graphically striking textile.

New products emerge from recycled materials and vintage artifacts adapt to new uses.  Rare handmade objects are art for display.  What you can do with Mingei “stuff” is limited only by your imagination.

A yak butter container holds dry flowers.  A Hmong spirit lock fills a small wall space.  A chapati rolling pin or a weaving shuttle becomes a towel rod.  A dowry chest is a colorful coffee table.  A hand-worked shawl dresses a window or accents a sofa.  A framed page of Tibetan script or Miao baby head cover enriches the look of a living room.  And whether or not you use your Tjap as a stamp, it makes a unique doorstop.

Framed enbroidered baby head covers grace the wall above Gail's sofa, which holds a collection of luscious pillows. The coffeetable is draped with a woman's hand woven headcovering.


Come to Mingei to birth your creative soul and transform your home!

–Gail Goodwin

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27
Feb
10

Same Same

One of the most popular T-shirts mottoes in the Hmong Night Market here is “Same Same”.  Yesterday when we visited another weaving village, this time south of town, only  one loom of many was strung with lovely cotton in natural and beige thread.  A traditional pattern was begun.  A woman who saw us eyeing the work, came over and demonstrated a few passes, explaining that this piece would take three weeks to finish.  We asked to see her work, expecting more of the same.  She guided us to a pile of weavings in garish colors, machine made of synthetic fibers but in similar design.  “Same same”, she assured us smiling.  “No same same”, we replied in unison.  “Cotton?” we asked hopefully?  “Lao silk”, she nodded proudly.  A neighbor pulled a synthetic piece from her pile and smiled, “Cotton.  Same same.”  We drifted away back to our tuk tuk.

Today, a new tuk tuk driver dropped us at our guest house and we engaged him for our return trip to the airport tomorrow.  After we asked his name, he politely asked ours.  “Ann.”  “Ellen.”  “Oh!”  He smiled.  “Same same!”  We smiled, nodded and drifted away.

26
Feb
10

Hot Hot Hot

There is no denying it– it may be cold back in Atlanta, but it is hot here in Luang Prabang.  The evenings are cool and pleasant, but the afternoons, in the mid-nineties, can be brutal on the dusty shadeless paths outside town along the rivers or on the stone walkways in the city.  Listless tourists sit in front of iced coffees or stumble from wat to wat and then back to their guesthouses.  Tuk tuk drivers sleep in the bit of shade offered by their idle vehicles.

Yesterday, we rose early to see the monks walk through town to collect alms in their begging bowls, the sticky rice and bananas that will sustain them through the day.  They march silently in single file from the wats along the streets where the devout — women mostly, and tourists– wait to drop a little something  in each bowl as they file by.  The poor also wait, and sometimes receive a little bit of something from the monks’ bowls as charity as they pass.  Mostly, the older ones give to the poor.  The tourists buy packets of sticky rice or individual small bananas from street vendors so they can participate in this experience, and train their large camera lenses on the stream on monks as they approach.

Monks on the move– collecting their food for the day in their begging bowls at 6am

After our monk time, visitors file back through the streets to enjoy breakfast in their guesthouses and a bit of cool before the heat begins.  Our guest house is on a small street just off the local fresh market and each trip in or out takes us through piles of peppers, fresh fish splayed on banana leaves, baskets of live ducks, tubs of frogs, bowls of larva, and arrays of vegetables portioned out on plastic sheeting.

The fresh market around the corner from our guest house

We headed off toward a pair of artisan villages over the river where crafts people make hand-made mulberry paper and weave silk.

The long bamboo footbridge across the point where the Mkong and Nam Khan rivers join. Weaving and paper making villages await on the other side.

After crossing the bridge, we walked past a small refreshment stand overlooking the Mekong, through the woods, past a rustic blue spirit house, over a trash dump and down a long, dusty path to the first village.

In the woods above the Mekong

We visited a workshop run by a Lao silk designer and bought several wonderful indigo and golden silk wall hangings from her before proceeding down the road looking for more.

While we found a few lush loosely woven silk scarves at another place, we were disappointed that there was very little to buy.  So much of what we found was machine made and of synthetic fabric and most of the looms were idle.  We had heard from a young American woman working at our guest house that in the last couple of years many cheap imports from China have arrived, pushing out traditional goods, and we saw the evidence here.  So sad.  Even in our last visit here three years ago, we saw many more beautifully made traditional pieces.  The prices of the good work here are quite high, making it challenging for us to find     good work to bring home.

We regret we did not get good photos of these hangings, but we will carry them back and have them at the store by March 8.

We also bought a number of hand-made mulberry pattern lanterns with pressed flowers and leaves that fold up into triangles.  You may remember these from before.    They are lovely hanging on their own or around a low wattage bulb.  These lanterns  also make great gifts.  Because of our baggage allowance for our trip back to Thailand, we will have a limited selection.

After retracing our steps to town, we needed to find some shade, cool drinks, and a a bite to eat.  We chose an attractive little spot on the main road and ordered a Lao Papaya salad “just a little spicy”.  We both pride ourselves on our tolerance and enjoyment of spicy food but know not to ask for local spicy in Thailand or Lao.  We had eaten many versions of Thai green papaya salad and were eager to taste the Lao version.

OMG!!!!!!

Oy and oy boy!

We quickly ordered sticky rice to go with our meal.

Whaaaaa.

Resting in between bites, we worked at our lunch for an hour before waving out little white tissue napkins in defeat.  Here’s what remained of our meal.  The salad was a lot of work.  Tasty, but a lot of work.

19
Feb
10

Cotton, silk, horn, silver….

Yesterday, we attended an exhibition by Thai Craft, featuring 35 different fair trade artisan groups from all over Thailand, and what a haul!  We found some wonderful hilltribe textile bags, fabulous fine cotton shawls from Hod, wonderful irridescent silks from Ban Napho, buffalo horn bangles, modern hilltribe silver and gorgeous stone and silver jewelry.

Here are a couple detail photos to give you an idea of what’s coming–

07
Feb
10

Your wish list

We are headed off to Thailand and Laos to shop shop shop.  We know we will be bringing back piles of silk scarves and bags of hilltribe silver.  We’ll be on the lookout for some great carvings, whimsical folk toys and bags made from recycled hilltribe clothing.  What would YOU like to see?

In response to a post below, I’ve added these photos of textile tool we have available now.  Thanks for your patience while I learn how to do all this!  Ann