Sunday, April 1, 2012

Going Direct in Vietnam

One of the things I have been really trying to do with my textile sourcing is to deal directly with the makers and the small businesses and individuals who work with textiles, or to get on a plane and go there and go find it. I only have 2 pages left in my passport and 23 countries later I am slowly ticking off my list of the textiles I want to have in my collection and to have available for sale. From French block prints from the Art Deco period to African wax fabrics. Admittedly I love American cotton prints and quilts and love travelling there finding them, but I have always had a soft spot for ethnic textiles too.

7 years ago after my first trip to Vietnam I fell in love with the textiles of Vietnams ethnic minority groups. The Hmong people. Black, Red and Flower H'mong especially. So when my partner had the opportunity to head to Hanoi to go work with the social enterprise KOTO - Know One, Teach One as a guest chef for a fundraising dinner, I jumped at the chance to spend time in Vietnam on my way to India.
We headed up into the hills near the Vietnam/China border with the hillsides covered in indigo plants and rice fields and with the help of a local guide headed to the villages to find weavers and dyers of these beautiful textiles. Hand woven hemp, Indigo resist dyed and hand embroidered. Even though I couldn't speak the language, we managed to muddle our way through me heading back home with a suitcase full.

Trying to work it all out
Working at the loom
The village is over there....
Canapes for the Fund Raising dinner

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