Weaving in Thailand
I have just returned home from a fantastic trip to Thailand, so I thought you all may enjoy some of my photographs. During my visit I had the chance to meet some of the local village weavers in Tung Na Muang where I stayed for three days. Tung Na Muang is in a remote area of North East Thailand on the border with Laos. The ladies purchase spun cotton from nearby villages and then dye and weave their own cloth. The cloth is then used to make table cloths, bags of various designs, shawls and scarves.
The plant growing at the left of the picture is used to produce the beautiful shade of green. I inquired as to the name of the plant but was told it was just a weed.
This is Lu pin who kindly showed me around the village and even let me use her loom !
I have not woven with such a wide warp before so I had a bit of trouble throwing the shuttle all the way across but I finally managed and everyone cheered !
The ladies also made sure that I beat the cloth very hard after changing the shed. As you can see the beater is suspended from a stick so I found it a bit tricky to keep it lined up with cloth.
Notice how the warp is wrapped up and over the entire loom, no warp beams or brakes on these looms…just a firm knot held in place by a stick.
Some of the ladies were away harvesting the rice so Lu pin showed us a table cloth in progress.
Then it was time to do some shopping… this lady had scarves and table cloths for sale.
Lu pin then brought us to her home where she displayed her collection of bags.
The following day Lu pin brought some samples of her weaving to show me and she very kindly cut some off for me to bring home with me. I will certainly treasure these. The previous day I had given Lu pin one of my handwoven bookmarks made with my hand spun wool, she was thrilled to bits to receive it.
Now onto the silk weaving…
The day before leaving Ubonratchathani to start my long journey home I was honored to have a private tour of the Ban Khampun Exhibition – home of the Ubon weaving center. Ban Khampun is open for the public just one a year during the Candle Festival in July. Ban Khampun is widely known in Thailand as a center producing high-quality silk fabric with it’s unique weaving technique, Ikat with Tapestry weave.
The weft is measured out and tied before dyeing, this is done numerous times to achieve the pattern. Some patterns also require the warp to be dyed in this manner.
The intricate tapestry weave is worked as the weft progresses.
The length of the warp is 20 meters, this lady was measuring from 5 or 6 spools of silk. There are 2,000 ends required for approximately one meter of cloth.
It takes about two days to thread the heddles.
Best quality silk is purchased and then dyed here using various plants, roots, mushrooms etc.
The museum building and lotus pond.
I will bring this piece to show and tell….
5 Replies to “Weaving in Thailand”
Rose, this is a wonderful travelogue! Thank you for sharing the great photographs and stories.
Just curious, but did Lu pin mention how old the looms were? They look so old but still so sturdy. The fineness of the weaving is just beautiful!
Rose this is just amazing! Thank you for sharing with us. Looking forward to hearing more details of your visit
Absolutely fascinating Rose! Your photographs and accompanying words allow us to realize how much we share with weavers all over the world but also how much there is to learn from culture to culture. A beautifully done photographic essay. Thank you!
I do not know the age of the looms in the Lu pin’s village, some were in better condition than others. Some of the wooden frames did appear to be relatively new but none of the looms in the village had any type of finish on them. I did see some frames outside some of the houses being used to hold either laundry or the entire families wadrobe instead of warp!
The looms at Ban Khampun in Ubon where they specialize in silk are quite old, extremely sturdy, detailed and finished. Unfortunately I don’t know just how old, I will try to find out and let you know. The Khampun family actually collect all types of old traditional equipment associated with weaving, much of it was on display as we went around. The more valuable pieces were housed in the museum. I would have liked to have spent more time there to take everything in and ask more questions…maybe I’ll get to visit again.
Stunning photos and wonderful story—thanks for sharing such a grand adventure.
I think you should submit your story to Wild Fibers and Handwoven!
Seeing these woven pieces at the NOBO Christmas party was a gift to us.
That last piece was definitely worth the trip.