The story about these ladies is a legend of life that seems to be fading as each day goes by. But today this is changing, as piece after piece of exquisitely designed Karen cloth is being woven by these ladies on many faraway mountaintops. The consistent clatter of the shuttles resembles the heartbeat, reminding us that the science of cloth weaving is still alive.
Every design and colour on Karen fabric is a result of the smart application of the surrounding natural materials. The threads are from cotton plants, the dyes from herbal trees and the beads from Job’s tears in the field. Even the looms are made of wood obtained from the nearby dense forest. These looms, called ‘backstrap looms’ by the Karens, represent folk wisdom in using short end-bars that allow the weaver to adjust the threads’ tension whilst weaving. All these components reflect miraculous integration between nature and a way of life through the creativity of these women—Karen women.
Location: Si Bear, Om Koi, Chiang Mai, Thailand