Sawaidee Ka all!
I have returned from Thailand... with a mouth palette longing to taste spice, lime and coconut in every meal, craving for my skin to feel and lungs to breathe the 40 degree humidities, wishing to be surrounded by unprovoked smiles, now connected with a new set of inspiring beautiful people, CHALLENGED (working in 43 degree heat!), instilled with an array of great memories and packed with plenty of news and new knowledge to share.
What an exciting and jam packed week it was! Massive thank you's go to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for such a unique opportunity. The itinerary seemed a tad ambitious from the start. I never imagined so much could be done in one week especially whilst I am typically used to taking my time and mulling over things. TAT proved it possible!
As mentioned in the previous post, Thailand Academy 3 is a campaign arranged by TAT in order to celebrate and appreciate the Textiles of Thailand from 'undiscovered' provinces i.e. provinces which are not typically on the tourist route; to expose and promote the beauty and depth of these provinces and the traditions that emanate from these areas. It also hopes that Thai traditions are appreciated by the younger Thai generation so as to preserve their presence.
Four very different provinces (in terms of language, indigenous culture, the textiles made there) were explored; Nan and Phrae in the north, Surin + Buriram in the east and Nakhon Sri Thammarat in the south. It was the job of various countries and their designers and journalists/bloggers to visit, explore and engage with each province. UK had the pleasure of being invited by TAT, along with countries: France, Germany, Italy, Israel, United Arab Emirates and countries of Scandinavia.
Our UK group was split with one half heading up to Nan to explore Thai-Lue Cotton and the other half - my half - heading to Surin + Buriram to explore Thai Mud Mee Silk. Each group was made up of three designers and one journalist blogger. I found myself with the lovely journalist/blogger Alice Judge-Talbot who writes an entertaining and intriguing blog on almost everything; More Than Toast. Check out her funny delights! The gracious, very talented and dedicated maker Ian Wallace of The Whitechapel Workhouse. The beautiful, comedic and naturally talented headwear maker Bryde Gordon. We joined forces on this SILK TRAIL with France and Germany. Those heading northwards of the UK group were the lovely Camilla & Holly of The Basket Room - basket beauties made in Africa, detailed & expert knitter Rose Sharp Jones who also holds knitting classes in her store in Herne Hill London and wonderful Jessica of Forever Miss Vanity blog.
The trip was amazingly well-organised, informative and full of a friendly bunch of organisers and guides.
Knowing where the resources comes from, the process of how the fabric made, created, the time it takes to create, how locally sustainable and ethical the production of the textiles are...These are what really adds so much more value to the cloth and a stronger appreciation and understanding.
Follow the next blog posts for more discoveries made and see what we made during our two day workshops with our given traditional textiles!