Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tribal Headdresses from Thailand

I purchased my first two Thai Hill Tribe headdresses at Flypaper, a gift shop in Anchorage, Alaska.

Later in 2002, when I visited Thailand on a wonderful SmarTours tour, I purchased a few more hats, mostly in or near Chiang Rai.  The first three hats are children's hats. 

The last three are adult headdresses.

By the way, the SmarTours tour was fabulous!  It was very reasonably priced, our tour guides were knowledgeable and wonderful, the people were friendly and welcoming, the food was great, and the crafts were amazing.  The tour was not billed as a craft tour, but craft is so deeply embedded in the Thai culture, it's unavoidable.  We visited a papermaking village, silk weavers, an umbrella factory, woodcarvers, bronze casters, silversmiths, utensil makers, gem stone sellers, orchid growers, a rice processing plant, a factory making lacquer boxes, weavers, elephant trainers, custom tailors, and a cloisonné factory.  In addition we saw museums and temples, markets, and wonderful scenery.  We rode elephants through the jungle!  The current political situation there is unfortunate, and I don't know how that's affecting the tour business.  The tour we took couldn't have been better.  I'm hoping to repeat it some day. 

October 2012 Update
I received a comment and a link to a very interesting blog post.  This post explains the significance of the different headdress designs.  Take a look.  Click here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Akha Hill Tribe Textiles

In 1994 (and many other years) I attended the Quilt/Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio.  During a trip to a local bead and ethnic craft shop, Byzantium, I purchased this bag (sometimes referred to as a loincloth), made by the Akha Hill Tribe people of Thailand.  I was really taken by the simple, clean design, funky embellishments, and the workmanship.

After hours in one of my classes that week, I started an improvisational quilt based on the Akha bag.  The result, several months later, was Hill Tribe (67" w x 71" h).

The quilt was successful, I think, and was exhibited at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, Alaska, in 1995; at The Gallery at Studio B, Lancaster, Ohio, in 1996; and at the Invitational 1997, Columbus Cultural Arts Center, Columbus Ohio, in 1997.  At one point the American Craft Museum requested it for consideration for their permanent collection.  It didn't make the cut, and was returned to me after about a year, but I felt honored at their unsolicited request and consideration.  The quilt has found its permanent (for now, anyway) home in my dining room.
This quilt (and, of course, Nancy Crow's Improvisations class) started me on my exploration of Thai textiles, as well as improvisational design.  From 1995 to as recently as 2007, I have created a series of quilts, my Hill Tribe Series, based on Akha textiles, colors and mood.  See my website for photos of other quilts in this series.  I was on the lookout for these Thai textiles, and purchased several more in Columbus and some in Anchorage, Alaska.
In the spring of 2002 I had the good fortune to visit the source of my inspiration - an Akha Hill Tribe village near Chiang Rai, Thailand.  I purchased several more purse/loincloths, several hats, and even some "quilts".  The quilts are pieced from worn clothing, and embellished with embroidery and beading.  I believe these are all Akha textiles, although I'm no expert.  Some may be from neighboring tribes.  All are wonderful!
So here are some of my loincloth/purses.

Hats next time!

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Finished Guatemala Bound Quilts

Here are a few more finished Guatemala Bound quilts.

Alternating 4-patches with square-within-a-square.

My sister made this crazy 9-patch top.

Another square-within-a-square crib quilt.

My sister's friend Marta from Palm Desert contributed the center portion of this quilt.  I added the Chinese coins to make it twin size.

Phyllis from Anchorage contributed this crib quilt.

Thank you all for the generous contributions!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eleven 9-Patch & Stripe Quilts Finished!

The Vancouver group has finished ELEVEN (!!) 9-Patch & Stripe quilts for Guatemala Bound.  Here they are as the group worked its way around the color wheel.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Storm Watch - May 2010 Handwerk Fabric Club Selection

The May 2010 Handwerk Fabric Club selection is available to ship. Storm Watch includes three multi-color fabrics and three blues: a periwinkle, a light blue, and a medium value bright navy. Fat Quarter packages (1 1/2 yds. total) are $27 ($30 including shipping by first class post within the U.S.); 1/2 yard packages (3 yds total) are $54 plus actual postage to your location; 1 yard packages (6 yards total) are $108 plus actual postage. Email me at to order. Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal accepted.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bird's Eye View at Camas WA Library

Here are some photos of High Fiber Diet's Bird's Eye View show at the Camas Library Second Story Gallery.  There are more quilts than shown in the photos.  This photo shows work by Bonnie Bucknam, Gerrie Congdon, and Karen Miller.

Work by Mary Goodson, Caroline Burton, Mary Arnold, and Laura Jaszkowski.

Work by Laura Jazskowski, Mary Goodson, and Shirley MacGregor.

Work by Karen Miller, Caroline Burton, and Terry Grant.

Work by Deanna Robinson, Christina Brown, Bonnie Bucknam, Diane Born, and Terry Grant.

The show runs through May 31 at 625 NE Fourth Ave, Camas, Washington.  The gallery is open during library hours.