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 Post subject: Batik Market Trends
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:07 pm 
I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. For a class project, we are examining the U.S. market for batiks and the possibility of selling tribal textile batiks made in Zambia. Maybe someone out there knows of a source, or report, where we might find information on the U.S. market trends for tribal textiles, and more specifically, the batik market. Thanks!

originally posted 2 Apr 03


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:09 pm 
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Richard, As a collector of tribal textiles, I always keep my eye on other collections and dealers via the internet or in person when applicable. I have been to a few shops in the states that claim to sell tribal textiles. I have also visited many sites via the internet. For the most part, the mass marketed merchandise tends to be acculturated textiles. This is a process of altering the authentic design, style and motif to suit the western markets. I would not call these items tribal textiles. These textiles might better be described as textiles made by tribal people. Once an item is marketed for the masses, the process is altered and caters primarily to profit. Many, if not all, of the traditional techniques are either shortcutted or eliminated in order to expidite the process. I believe a true tribal textile is a garment that is produced for the tribe.In your attempt to market tribal textiles, I would suggest promoting the traditional means and methods of textile production within the tribe. It is up to us in the western markets to learn and appreciate their culture not vice versa. Best of luck, Rusty


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:14 pm 
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Rusty makes some good points but I think some are over simplified and the subject of debate amongst anthropologists, curators and collectors alike. The argument that I seen to subscribe to is that once a culture opens beyond its boundaries “pure” tribal art begins to change and then disappear. Electronic commerce has sped this consequence even more. Economic exchange between cultures whether monetary or for bartered goods has and will impact art in any culture. The Western world has a collection mentality far beyond that of the East. For further insights and debate, I would recommend the following books to those that collect and deal in cultural artifacts. 1) Muensterberger, Collecting an unruly passion, 2)Taylor, Paul M. ed., Fragile Traditions, Indonesian Art in Jeopardy, 3)Price, Sally. Primitive Art in Civilized Places. 4)Errington, Salley. The Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of Progress. These books have given me wonderful insights into what’s right and wrong with collecting, our museums and interpretation of “Primitive” art. I also find it very interesting that Indian and Dutch printed textiles were exported to the Torajan people and revered as highly as those woven by their ancestors. Best regards to all Richard M.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:15 pm 
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Richard, Perhaps my response was misunderstood. It is often so very difficult to communicate via the internet, our sentances are anylized for content without the true meaning registering. There is an old saying that I often reflect on when I am communicating with a supervisor or subordinates,"Do what I mean not what I say". This example can not be achieved without one on one communication. Anyways, I did not mean to open up a debate of the ethical issues surrounding collecting, marketing and defining tribal art. What I did mean to say is that tribal textiles can be produced and marketed in their original form which can benefit both parties. I agree with your concept that change is inevitable, however it occurs. If the choice was mine, I would prefer original quality over acculturated quantity. This can successfully be accomplished. I visited a woman in a remote Yao village in northern Laos this past winter. She was producing the traditional Yao pants for export. The exact kind that would be worn by women of the tribe. These pants have a market in the west as they are intricately beautiful and very wearable. The pants were not produced by the means and methods of their recent ancestors, as the process is continually changing. They did reflect what the villagers would wear on a daily basis. Original would accuratly define them. I know she is and will continue to be be very successful in her ventures. I wish the same to you, Rusty


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:16 pm 
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Hello Rusty. You may have not to intended open the debate of "the ethical issues surrounding collecting, marketing and defining tribal art", but that was definitely what my response was intended to do. Where better than here to open the debate, with a question from a graduate student from a major university looking toward marketing textiles tribal or not? Here in the U.S. our textile traditions are almost lost. Yes Amish quilts of recent vintage are still marketed with some success yet they can not compete with the Chinese versions that are offered at a fraction of the costs though typically inferior to the “real thing”. If we look toward other categories of art, the dilemma is the same. How many labels are there that do not convey the essence of the form and function of the material goods traded infra and intra cultural. As an example look how the debate goes with folk art, naïve art, and of course insider art. Those who wished to market material goods to those outside the cultural identity created those categories and others. So goes the same with ethnographic, tribal and you name it art. Some of the lure may be the exotic connection that we want to relate to, for others it may be a chance to buy a wonderfully hand made piece at a fraction of what we would value our time to produce it, if we could. From this I mean is how much would the average person pay for a textile with 100 hours on concentrated labor? How about a 1000 hours? My friend, this is a Western dilemma and has little meaning in many of the cultures whose articles we have bought, are buying and will be buying in the future. I’m interested in your thoughts. This is an important debate for all and again though you may have not meant to open it, I thank you. Best regards to all. Richard M.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:18 pm 
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A couple of tangential thoughts. When I am collecting I am always seeking for my collection the textiles which have been made for the people (or tribe) themselves much as Rusty said. However, I appreciate where traditional skills are still being kept alive because another market has been developed - be it tourist or export. I may also buy such textiles if I am attracted to them to use and perhaps cut up for clothing or furnishing. I cannot bring myself to use 'original' tribal textiles in such a way. Influences. One of the prize pieces in my collection is an Iban sungkit technique (not ikat) jacket which I found in the back of a tourist clothing shop in a hotel in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, E Malaysia. In the centre of the back the motif is a beautifully executed aeroplane (a very rounded and 40s/50s look to it). Fascinating how that 'modern' item has been incorporated into the very traditional jacket. Pamela


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:22 pm 
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May I answer from a different perspective? Yes, batik from Zambia would be a welcome addition. Nigerian mud cloth sells for over $40 a yard in the SF Bay area, and there are many ethnically oriented African gift shops, as well as the Oakland Museum, that feature contempory African crafts. I suggest contacting the Oakland museum. Don't be put off by questions of


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:23 pm 
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I wasn't sure I wanted to get into this debate, but here goes. I'm sure many have seen the Hmong story cloths embroidered with great care and realism, depicting their lost lives in Laos, and their arrival in America, complete with guns, planes and warlords! What category should they be assigned to? When my husband and I lived in Australia (91-95), a NGO taught batiking techniques to native women settled around Utopia, SA. Most were horrible, but some were beautiful, and very expressive of the dreamtime owners of their symbols, which before had only been painted on faces. Those who were very good kept on, and those who weren't, dropped out. The result, a new expressive technique, and cash, and recognition. Why the need to d


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:23 pm 
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Rusty, Do you have any evidence that grad student Richard, was able to get assistance on his query? I'm quite concerned that inability to provide initial information on marketing and other questions turned him off com -letely, and to what purpose. Some of us have expertise in developing co-ops for the sale of traditional cloths, as well as working with SEA immigrant groups. And I can hel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:26 pm 
Question for Richard M. The indigo and red weave photos you have attached to your response 4/14/03 is titled Karen textile. Is it not a tribal weave from Xieng Khang or HuaPhan, Laos? Thanks Phil


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Phil, did you see the thread about this piece of Richard's and the various other suggestions on origin? http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... c.php?t=30 Thanks for your suggestion which I am going to post onto that thread as well.

_________________
Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 3:52 pm 
rusty wrote:
Richard, As a collector of tribal textiles, I always keep my eye on other collections and dealers via the internet or in person when applicable. I have been to a few shops in the states that claim to sell tribal textiles. I have also visited many sites via the internet. For the most part, the mass marketed merchandise tends to be acculturated textiles. This is a process of altering the authentic design, style and motif to suit the western markets. I would not call these items tribal textiles. These textiles might better be described as textiles made by tribal people. Once an item is marketed for the masses, the process is altered and caters primarily to profit. Many, if not all, of the traditional techniques are either shortcutted or eliminated in order to expidite the process. I believe a true tribal textile is a garment that is produced for the tribe.In your attempt to market tribal textiles, I would suggest promoting the traditional means and methods of textile production within the tribe. It is up to us in the western markets to learn and appreciate their culture not vice versa. Best of luck, Rusty


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 5:42 pm 
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Location: California, USA
I am intrigued: have I missed something? Why Red Hmong, and where Red Hmong? Assistance, please.

Sandie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 8:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Sandie,

I saw the post and was thinking about deleting it as it looked to me as if someone was playing with the message board!

There may be a school project being undertaken on Hmong in Vietnam in Texas at the moment.

About 10 days ago I had an email from someone with a 'research paper' to do on the Hmong in Vietnam and he/she - no name, just 'help needed in Texas' could not seem to understand what all the different names of Hmong (or 'Homongs'!) including 'Red Homongs' meant. Supposedly they had looked at 'hundreds of websites'. I am afraid that I did not feel I had the time to give detailed info on Hmong in Vietnam and I feel that if students have been set research projects it is up to them to find the info from - heaven forbid - old fashioned books, and what is actually posted on websites and not to expect someone else to do the work for them. Sorry, I am on my hobby horse!!!

Anyway, nice to know that you are around and still checking into the forum. It has been rather quiet of late although Richard Mook has just posted a nice Indonesian textile.

All the best, as ever,

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
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Location: California, USA
Pamela,

Thanks for the elucidation. Of course as you know, the topic of "help" has been touched on before on the Forum. I fully agree with you, it's a disaster regarding our time and energy. In the case you just mention, the writer must have taught you were an agony auntie (Ms Lonely Heart?).

Don't forget the writer was from Texas!!

Ciao,

Sandie


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