Monday, March 18, 2013

Pha Nok Nok Hilltribe in Thailand ~ hemp spinnging and weaving

Our guide, Chaiya, arrived early in the morning to take us north out of Chiang Mai to the hilltribe village Pha Nok Nok. The difference between the fairly affluent Chiang Mai and the hilltribe village is stark.  This is where Grandma Lezah, who is 90, and her niece live. Grandma began working with hemp at around age 15.  This art is not being passed on here, but rather this is a museum to the art that used to be. They are working with wax painting on fabric, but no longer using the hemp.  We didn't see any hemp used in their daily lives, rather just a few remnants of what has been.  The tools are amazingly simple and yet produce quality finely made items. When we arrived Grandma was no where to be found.  Some said she'd gone to visit a friend and actually she went to the church to pray. So, while waiting we poked around and walked the village a bit.

bird cages are hanging from the porch

This is the loom she used for weaving hemp.
It is folded up against the wall.

There was a picture of Grandma Lezah and possibly her mother on the wall outside the museum

folded loom again.  I thought for sure it was no longer functional and threads broken but as you will see in a bit it is totally functional.

Hemp stems waiting to be tripped of their outer layer.  You can see the outer layer peeling a bit from one of the stalks.

After peeling the outer bark the fibers are rolled into balls

This hemp has been spun

Lovely yarn swift!

This is a jaunting tool used with wax and indigo

We found indigo dye pots and I was wondering if this was an indigo plant

The lonely old hemp plant growing in the garden

Indigo dye pots out back

Just wanted to show the lush growth of this area

Banana trees...always fascinating to me.  The bloom is shown above.

dirt road walking we took while in the village

These are mill stones.  I wonder if they are still used.

The village is put together in a way and is very impoverished, yet the creativity....

fabric hanging to dry after the dye pots

She is embroidering cut work and others are doing cross stitch or wax batik type painting of fabric

the dye pot

hot steaming fabric just coming from the dye pot.  Our language barrier prohibited many questions

Perhaps a break or pounder of some type the children playing

Grandma showing us how she softened the yarn after spinning.
Then they got all dressed up to show us the ethnic clothing worn on special occasions.  
They dressed me too!

My daughter, Mandy of Mandolyn Photography, took this one.

Grandma took the loom down to show us how the loom worked and the wonderful shuttle used.

Grandma spinning, taken by Mandolyn Photography

this is the spinning wheel from the top

a close up of the spindles 

 These pillow tops were all she had left from their industry

display hanging by the wall

I purchased rolls of hemp fabric at the market from the hilltribe women so I know this industry is still alive and well.  I just wasn't able to ascertain where it was growing or where it was being produced.