|Traditional floor loom under the house|
We talk about how we sell Junhom Bantan's textiles in Canada -- mostly face-to-face where we can tell the story behind their creation. She nods and smiles. We talk about technology -- she uses email at a local internet cafe -- and show her some of the tools we use on our computers and iPod Touch. She's interested, but we agree that this work is truly rooted in the village and in the hands of the spinners, dyers and weavers. Technology only supports this.
When the time feels right, we step inside the shop -- a showroom and storeroom for the weavings. We open glass-fronted, handcarved cabinets and pore over the designs within. We talk about local, natural dye colours (soft gray-greens, mushroom, indigo, sky blue, ebony brown, rosewood tan), textures (handspun cotton thick or thin, weaves in small windowpanes or "missing thread") and designs.
|Junhom Bantan's shop next to Mai's house in Ban Tan|
|Wispy cotton scarves are fun to wear|
|Chunky scarves offer texture from handspun cotton|
|Indigo wrap pants are great for everyday wear|
"Can you eat khao neow?" Mai asks us the question we're frequently asked in Isaan, the northeast of Thailand. Here too in Lanna, the north of Thailand, sticky rice is traditionally the staff of life. "Yes," we reply. "We love it."
Mai relaxes. We have just returned in the dark from a trip to her sister's field on the edge of the village. We had jumped on 2 motorbikes as the sun was quickly disappearing and followed a newly paved path that soon slid into a typical red dust road. The field was filled with blooming marigolds, ready for offerings to the monks, and a small vegetable garden of greens.
|Mai arrives at the marigold and vegetable field, mountains in the background|
|Mai cuts khana, green onions and cilantro|
It's morning. Roosters crow. Motorbikes putt putt along the main road of the village outside Mai's family house. I awake early and see she has set up a display area since we visited last year with weaving and farming tools on the porch outside our room. We eat sticky rice cooked with coconut milk, stuffed into a length of bamboo and roasted over the fire. It's time for the Kaliang textile festival.
|Outside our room, we discover a display of weaving and farming tools|