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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:00 am
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Location: Santa Cruz Bolivia
On my recent visit to the US I was fortunate to receive an invitation to spend two afternoons with two Montagnard weavers who live in North Carolina.

On the first day we had a "show and tell". I took my own backstrap woven textiles to show and they showed us their own pieces...skirts, blouses, bags and blankets. Some of the pieces were enormous and comprised several panels sewn together but, evenso, each panel was very large and I can imagine these weavers at full stretch trying to pass the weft through the sheds. You will appreciate in the photo this feat as they are small. I being of average height, tower above them.

The most striking thing for me was the twined edge band that call "kteh" that adorns some of the large pieces.

On the second day we observed their warping and I got to participate in the process. The loom was set up and I also got to weave on it. I have deciphered one of their simpler pick up techniques and have been experimenting with that here at home. I hope to be able to come up with some small pieces that they can weave and sell at craft markets so that they will be be encouraged to continue weaving and will be able at least to cover the cost of thread for other projects.

I will be blogging about this is greater detail soon.


Attachments:
File comment: ME, HAPPY AS A BABY, WEAVING ON THE TRADITIONAL LOOM. THE WEAVERS USUALLY WEAVE VERY WIDE PIECES BUT THIS LOOM HAS BEEN SET UP TO WEAVE A NARROW BAND WHICH WILL SERVE AS A BAG STRAP- NOT ONE OF THEIR TRADITIONAL PIECES..HENCE THE OVERSIZED SWORD AND TOOLS
P8142015me weaving dszsmall.JPG
P8142015me weaving dszsmall.JPG [ 84.02 KiB | Viewed 6533 times ]
File comment: INTERESTING TO SEE THIS WARPING TECHNIQUE WHERE THE CONTINUOUS STRING HEDDLES ARE ADDED AS THE WARP IS MADE ON THE WARPING STAKES
P8141989ju warping dszsmall.JPG
P8141989ju warping dszsmall.JPG [ 54.61 KiB | Viewed 6533 times ]
File comment: THE TWINED KTEH TECHNIQUE (RED AND WHITE) WHERE THREADS ARE TWINED AROUND THE FRINGE WARPS OF A LARGE PIECE
P8131986kteh dszsmall.JPG
P8131986kteh dszsmall.JPG [ 57.08 KiB | Viewed 6533 times ]
File comment: THE WEAVERS DRESSED ME IN ONE OF THEIR TRADITIONAL SKIRTS
Ju Nie, Nach and meP8131999dsz small.JPG
Ju Nie, Nach and meP8131999dsz small.JPG [ 62.55 KiB | Viewed 6533 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:45 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hi Laverne-
What a wonderful post! You were so lucky to meet and work with these ladies. You say "Montagnard", which was the French term for the various hilltribes in Central Vietnam, but do you know which group? I have had loincloths with twined ends that were similar to the piece you show and the books say they're Ede or Rade, but I don't know much about these particular groups. Their textiles are quite exceptional because of this twining- I have seen some of this work that is very fine and with intricate patterns(see below). The warp patterning that you show on the textile is also very handsome, but I've not seen any textiles quite like that here or in Vietnam.

Also, the inclusion of the string heddles in the warping sounds like what the Karen here do- I posted on my backstrap loom weaving class http://www.tribaltextiles.info/community/viewtopic.php?t=1435, which included warping like this, with more detailed photos on my blog.

Thanks so much for sharing!


Attachments:
082610-TAV206x_Detail.jpg
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082610-TAV176_Detail.jpg
082610-TAV176_Detail.jpg [ 34.82 KiB | Viewed 6505 times ]

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Last edited by susan stem on Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:17 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz Bolivia
Hi Susan,

Yes, that twined edging is incredible. I do hope that I can return some day soon to learn that technique with the ladies. One of the ladies is of the Jarai tribe and the other is of the Rhade (this is the way they spelled it for me). I cannot figure how they tension the fringe threads so that they can twine the designs. I would imagine that it would have be done while still on the loom but the American lady who is working with the weavers told me that it is done once the piece is off the loom! Boggles my mind! It's exciting how similar the design on the piece you have posted here is to that made by the ladies I met. I have more examples which will be posted on my blog.

I have been having a good look at the warp float technique that they use and have been able to reproduce it on a couple of items which I will include in my blog post on Friday. I will link to it here when I am done. They also use supplementary wefts in their pieces.

I must revisit your blog post and see that warping style. I met a lady when I was in Albuquerque at Convergence who works with Karen weavers in Utah and I hope to go visit and weave with them on my next trip to the US. Such an opportunity to be able to meet with these weavers like this. There are many of these SE Asian weaving groups in the US-it is just a matter of finding and making contact with them.

Oh, and Susan I wanted to ask you if I may use the images you have posted here on my blog and use your name along with them. Are both these pieces loin cloths? Do you own them?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Laverne- Here is the link to my blog post re the backstrap weaving class:
http://tribaltrappings.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html- it's impossible to find otherwise. Scroll down past the first post- it's down there.

I no longer own the pieces posted, which are both loincloths, but do see some occasionally. We don't see much besides loincloths from these groups, tho I have had a Jarai blanket or two with lovely warp designs, and some skirtcloths from other groups in that region (Bahnar, Maa, Mnong...etc.).

I will look forward to your blog post on this. It's great that you are making connections to weavers in the US - they do seem to be scattered far and wide.

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http://www.tribaltrappings.com
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:00 am
Posts: 36
Location: Santa Cruz Bolivia
Thank you Susan,
I used your photo and also re read your blog post. I had never seen this system of incorporating string heddles while the warp is being wound before but now it seems that this may be quite typical amongst SE Asian weavers?

I wrote up a very condensed version of the visit on my blog - had to restrain myself! In the meantime I am charting the motifs and making diagrams of the structures. I am also trying to draw the heddle making proces which I now thoroughly understand after having wound and unwound the warps numerous times in an attempt to make sketches! I will eventually write up everything in a journal with step by step photos and drawings.

Here is the link to the blog post.
http://backstrapweaving.wordpress.com/2 ... -carolina/

You will see that I wove some small piece using some of the traditional motifs and color scheme of these weavers.

Laverne
[/url]


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Laverne-
Great blog post! Your pieces are so attractive, and the amount of work you do to figure out how to master a technique is truly inspiring. Your inspiration, and the links provided, led me on all manner of tours around the internet- such good fun! I really feel emotional about the work being done by the group in NC (Montagnard Dega), and others that I've become aware of: that they are using weaving as an international language of education and compassion is so encouraging and uplifting. Most Americans have little, if any awareness of the sacrifices made by the tribal people in Vietnam, but now they may just come into contact with them and see the beautiful, skillful textiles they create and through this artform may learn something about the people, the war, and about themselves in the process.

I encourage those following this post to visit Laverne's blog, as well as the website for Montagnard Dega: http://backstrapweavers.blogspot.com/2010/06/about-us.html The weavings are a delight and this work is well worth supporting.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:30 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz Bolivia
I have been experimenting with weft twining to try to reproduce the weft twined designs that I saw on the edges of warp faced textiles woven by Jarai and Rhade tribe backstrap weavers that I met in the US on a recent visit.

I had been told that this is done off loom and I couldn't imagine how it could be managed without having the warps under tension.

Now that I have tried it, it turns out that it is comfortable to do by simply holding the work in one's lap. After learning the basic moves from a book on Maori Taaniko twining, I charted a couple of the motifs from the textiles I had photographed as well as an adaptation of one of the designs on one of Susana Stem's pieces pictured above. I am using very heavy yarn to learn and sample and will try to use finer yarns as I gain more experience. I would like to have some experience and a greater understanding of the technique before returning to study the process with the Montagnard weavers themselves.

Below are photos of what I have done so far.

I love studying structures and trying to reproduce them!

More about this can be seen on my blog...
http://backstrapweaving.wordpress.com/


Attachments:
File comment: This is one of the motifs on the pieces woven by the Montagnard weavers I met.
weft twining dsz 2.jpg
weft twining dsz 2.jpg [ 40.46 KiB | Viewed 6228 times ]
File comment: This is an adaptation of one of the motifs on one of the loin cloths above. I could not get a close enough view to be able to faithfully reproduce it.
weft twining dsz 1.jpg
weft twining dsz 1.jpg [ 43.34 KiB | Viewed 6228 times ]

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 Post subject: Weft twining
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:01 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz Bolivia
Thanks to Betsy Renfrew and Andrew Young my wish came true and I was able to return to study weft twining techniques with two weavers from the Rhade and Jarai tribes who are living in the USA. I just returned and have been experimenting with all that I learned.

My teachers, Ju and Ngach from the Rhade and Jarai tribes respectively, work twining along the edges of blankets and skirts once the woven piece is off the loom. Ju has a special wooden stand that her husband constructed while Ngach simply drapes the textile over a metal bar and has the bar supported on furniture so that she can sit in front of it and work.

Both weavers carry their weft on bobbins. Ngach has had some fashioned from cement in the US. Ju's husband carved wooden ones from a pestle he bought at a Laos store in the US. The wood is one he recognizes as also being available in the hills of Vietnam. The wooden ones are heavier and Ngach who is more skilled at twining than Ju says that heavier ones are better.

I am attaching a few photos of my classes and the piece I have started working on at home. There is a lot more about this in several recent posts on my blog including video clips.

I am twining one edge while the textile is still under tension on my backstrap loom and I will twine the other one off the loom as I was taught by Ju and Ngach.

I actually find it easier to twine on the loom and I suspect that it is done off- loom as there are twining specialists who are commissioned to twine and finish woven pieces. Ngach told me that she was one such specialist and that women would bring their woven loin cloths to her to twine. Ju weaves skirts in the US and sends them back to her sister in Vietnam who twines the edges and returns them.

http://backstrapweaving.wordpress.com/


Attachments:
File comment: This is the piece I am weaving for practice on my backstrap loom. I wove a small supplementary weft motif into the center of the piece which I copied from one of Ju 's Rhade baby carriers.
on loom dsz.jpg
on loom dsz.jpg [ 99.27 KiB | Viewed 5900 times ]
File comment: Ngach has her woven child's skirt suspended on a metal bar. She holds the warps under tension in her left hand while twisting the two strands of weft which are carried on the two cement bobbins.
PB190558 dsz.jpg
PB190558 dsz.jpg [ 97.17 KiB | Viewed 5900 times ]
File comment: This is the piece on which I am working at home. I wove a piece of fabric using traditional Jarai and Rhade warp float designs and am going to work twining on both edges. I am half way through twining the design on the first edge.
main design finished crop.JPG
main design finished crop.JPG [ 147.45 KiB | Viewed 5900 times ]
File comment: A close up of the twined design that Ngach and I worked on in our classes. We could sit side by side and work together with Ngach starting one row of design which I would pick up at the center and continue while she started again with the next row.
PC010817dsz.jpg
PC010817dsz.jpg [ 116.3 KiB | Viewed 5900 times ]
File comment: Wooden and cement bobbins. Ngach told me that they are often made from wood or clay in Vietnam.
PC010821 dsz.jpg
PC010821 dsz.jpg [ 105.62 KiB | Viewed 5900 times ]

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Last edited by Laverne on Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Incredible patience
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Posts: 315
Dear Laverne,
Many many thanks for posting the "in progress" twining! I finally get it! The patience to remember where it all goes AND keep all the tension the same is just amazing! I will have to look more closely at a couple of pieces I have back in South Africa that I think may include this technique and if so post here. Thanks too for your wonderfully insightful blog!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Hi Laverne

My thanks also for your extremely clear post. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us. The very best way to illustrate a technique is via photos of the learning process.

I love your blog and have been signed up for notifications of your (usually weekly) blog posts for several months and really enjoy them. Your blog is such a wonderful resource and pure enjoyment for anyone who is at all interested in weaving techniques.

I have several loin cloths from Vietnam/Laos. At least one of those Susan posted is in my collection. I have been meaning to get them out since the earlier posts. I also intend(!) to post some photos for you of Batak twining. I have some beautiful examples on some old pieces. Not as immediately striking as the Jarai/Ede pieces but very fine, nevertheless.

I have been attracted to weft twining for a considerable period but did not initially understand how it was done or that it was a separate weaving process. As my knowledge has grown so has my appreciation of the technique. Thanks so very much for giving us such insight and sharing your excellent photos. It is excellent that, at the moment, the technique is not being lost. All power to your elbow (as the somewhat inelegant saying goes) in anything you can do to support the weavers.

Seasonal greetings from Europe to S America - enjoying understanding traditional Asian weaving techniques! Now, that is what this forum is all about!

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: Batak twining
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:00 am
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Location: Santa Cruz Bolivia
Pam, all this was made possible by Betsy Renfrew who is working with the Montagnard weavers.

I would love to see pictures of your twined Batak pieces. I hope you have a chance to post them soon once the holiday madness is over :-)

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