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images © Susan Stem

Following Susan Stem's contribution to the forum discussion on 'the age of textiles' which has generated considerable discussion she emailed me the two interesting (and charming) photos above.  I quote below the relevant text from her message.  The file references suggest that the lady on the left (as the text says) is 68 and the lady on the right is 72.

"Specific to this discussion of age, I recently had an interesting experience when visiting a Karen village near the Thai/Burma border: I was presented with an obviously well-used, very faded indigo blouse of traditional design by an older woman, who when questioned said that she made it when she was 18 and now she is 68. It had had a hard 50 years, and to some would appear to be much older. Pertinent to this are the previous comments about use: many tribal people are poor and do not have the luxury of owning many textiles, let alone not using them. This blouse may have been special when it was new, but as it was used and washed, it lost that quality. I also noted that the modern pieces being worn, tho traditional in design and ornamentation, were woven of commercial thread in a totally different palette. Obviously, 'fashion' is a concern and like women everywhere, the allure of 'new' colors is irresistible."  Susan Stem, May 2003 - http://tribaltrappings.com/

click for another of Susan's Karen photos showing new textiles

return to 'age of textiles' thread on the message board

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this page last updated 1 January, 2004