Sunday, March 13, 2011

We're Getting There

Learning from Andrea at The Suter the Kayan Weavers are demonstrating weaving at Race Unity Day celebration, four weavers, (Ronette, Pat Spitz, Nola Fournier and moi,) met at Victory Square this afternoon.  It took us a while to find the ladies, they had finished weaving one scarf in the morning and were going to weave no more.

They did allow us to photograph the piece on the loom, (already sold), but they had taken out the crucial two pieces of wood that would have explained how the two sets of warps were lifted. 

What we do know are:
  • They use back-strap looms; 
  • The yarns used are 2/20 mercerized cotton, same as mine, woven at 40 or closer EPI.
  • The pieces are in fancy, warp-faced, plain weave.  
  • They use thin bamboo sticks as spacers. 
  • Wefts are two 2/20 cotton, not plied.  
  • When the warp is in two colors, those two colors are used in the weft; in multi-colored warps, it appears the two weft colors could be anything.  
  • There is no treatment at the start or the finish.
  • Pieces today were not wet-finished nor washed; I can't remember how they were finished for the gallery shops, however.  
Enough words; now for the pictures.  The dark, lovely piece was sold while being woven, but Mama had asked me to buy a piece that would look love on her wall, and Nola and I chose a cheerful-colored one.

The top part shows the start of the scarf, and the bottom (with the "beater" still in place) is the end of the scarf.
The weaver showed us the two sticks under the yellow arrow, but neither had any strings on them; they looked like smooth, round cross sticks.  The stick at the end of the green arrow seems to me like the bamboo stick inserted at the start of the scarf, but I can't be sure.
Two sides of one piece.
It's easier to tell what two colors are used in the weft in this piece.
A little harder here; one is white, and the other is a very pale peach color not used in the weft.
No hemming, no fringing.  I can live with that!

Because I was shameless in asking question after question about the structure of the loom, the daughter of one of the weavers who speaks English invited us to their home to have a private demonstration, so four of us are going.  I shall definitely keep you posted.

The weavers were dressed in their traditional Kayan costume,  but since they spent a decade in Thai refugee camps as "tourist attractions", I hesitated to ask if I can take pictures of them, so if interested, please click here.

EDIT: I never imagined I can pick out a face from Google image search, but Zembar is the daughter I met.

7 comments:

  1. I have no skills on weaving, but I love woven clothes-especially if it's made by ethnic people. It really GLAM! Some of my friends are good in weaving clothes. When I watched them wearing, they're using hand carder before spinning their materials.

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  2. Sophie, many weavers dye and spin their own yarns to weave with, some to great effect, particularly for texture, I think.

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  3. Jill has posted a couple of photos of a Navajo loom setup for us to see here http://www.facebook.com/home.php?filter=nf#!/photo.php?fbid=1608683825969&set=a.1389718951984.2055951.1502422694&theater and here:http://www.facebook.com/home.php?filter=nf#!/photo.php?fbid=1608676825794&set=a.1389718951984.2055951.1502422694&theater.

    Pat thought it was not a Navajo until at the start, but having been shown the two dowels (neither without any strings), we are not sure, as they could have removed the stings after finishing weaving the scarf.

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  4. Wow! You were so lucky to have a personal demonstration. These photos are really inspiring. I have just started weaving and have blogged how I got on! Thanks for sharing x

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  5. I was very interested to follow the link you have added and learn more about Zembar and the other long-necked weavers. I hope they are happy in new Zealand. Their weaving is beautiful.

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  6. Oh, Dot, you're ahead of me. I've bookmarked one, (I have read The Listener article,) but I'm nailed to the Japanese public broadcast over the Internet.

    About 5 hours ago, there was a quake in the Kanto area, which includes the capital and where my family are, and there is so little coverage of that.

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