Monday, 1 June 2015

Thailand Academy 3: Thai Textile

In April I was offered the amazing opportunity to go to Thailand as part of the Tourist Authority of Thailand's Thailand Academy 3: Thai Textiles programme.  Groups of designers from various countries took part in a trip to discover more about Thai textiles.  I was thrilled to be part of the group from the UK, and to visit the province of Nan in the northeast of the country to learn about traditional Thai Lue textiles.  After arriving in Bangkok, we travelled to Nan to work alongside the weavers and seamstresses in the Chansom Workshop where the Thai Lue fabrics are made.  Whilst in the workshop we made products using the fabric. 

The UK team of designers and press with the director of the Tourist Authority of Thailand
Cotton yarns handspun in Nan province
The beautiful landscape outside our hotel in Nan province
Thai Lue fabric at the Chansom Workshop
Working at the Chansom Workshop
The looms at the Chansom Workshops, making various traditional fabrics
Chansom Workshop
My finished cushion piece

This project offered me an amazing opportunity to learn about the whole process of textile production, from plant to finished fabric.  I learnt how to spin cotton (a very tricky process!), saw the fabric being woven, and then got the chance to work with the fabric myself as well as seeing how it was used by local people.  It was fascinating to see this entire process being done in one village.  It was a pleasure to work alongside the staff of the Chansom Workshop and learn about life in Nan province.  Many thanks to TAT for the opportunity.

Cambrian Mountains Design Challenge 2015

I was very pleased to be a finalist in the Cambrian Mountains Design Challenge.  The aim of the project was to design and make a project using Cambrian Mountains wool from the heart of Wales.  I submitted designs for furniture pieces upholstered with fabric made using the wool.  My design used a traditional Aran stitch, combined with crochet, my first piece that combined both knit and crochet in the same pieces.  The project was perfect for my focus on British wool - the Cambrian wool was lovely to work with and was very suited to the fabrics I had designed.  A variety of pieces have been made by designers using the wool, and the pieces will be on a tour of the UK until the end of 2015.  Details of the exhibition venues can be found on the Cambrian Wool website

                                                           The Cambrian Chair
                                           Detail of the traditional Aran stitch used