Tribal Trappings – Asian Ethnic Art, Artifacts, Textiles and Folk Art Tribal Trappings – Thoughts about Thailand, Chiang Mai, things tribal including textiles, ethnographica and folk art <data:blog.pageTitle/>

Saturday, December 16, 2006

From The Ends of The Earth

Last night we were nicely entertained for a couple of hours by this wonderful double set of DVDs from Janet Willoughby, at Ends Of The Earth. A very thoughtful gift from Pamela Cross, they document a large variety of surviving (some only barely) weaving traditions around the world, and show in detail the use of all kinds of looms and the different techniques employed. Janet has travelled and video'd weavers in Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Bali, Sumba, Burma, Laos, Thailand, India, Ghana, and Turkey (plus others no doubt), and the ingenious variations on the process of combining warps and wefts are quite awe-inspiring- from the mechanisms (looms) to the weavings. These tribal people would be naturals with computers, as these looms are not dissimilar in the skills and expertise required. (Of course, it is well known that the jacquard looms of the 19thc.inspired the first punchcard computers.) Covered on the DVD are all the stages of setting up the various looms: warping, tying the heddles, etc.; then the different weaving methods: warp-faced, weft-faced, supplementary warp and weft, 'pick-up', four selvedge, warp and weft ikat, and double ikats, tapestry, cicim and even carpets. It was interesting to see similarities such as the Guatemalan weavers using the same looms and methods as Karen weavers in Thailand. It was also enlightening to see double ikats being woven on large looms in Gujarat (their origin), as well as Tenganan, Bali, but on small backstrap looms. Needless to say, we learned a lot and will be reviewing the information often. This set, and others, can be ordered from Janet's website.