Vol. VIII No. 7 - Tuesday
February 17 - February 23, 2009

Art, Music & Culture
Dining Out & Entertainment
Chiang Mai FeMail
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Happy Birthday HM Queen Sirikit
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Updated every Tuesday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

A great way to reward customer loyalty - even in a recession

A visit to Mae Chem’s Teen Chok festival


A great way to reward customer loyalty - even in a recession

The Wine Gallery’s annual fancy dress ‘Thank You’ party


A visit to Mae Chem’s Teen Chok festival

Teen Chok on parade at the Mae Chem annual festival.

Pauline Bottrill
Whilst the Chiang Mai Flower Festival weekend was in full swing on February 6-8, Mae Chem, a town over the mountains to the south west, was holding its annual Teen Chok festival.
A group of eight textile enthusiasts, led by Susan Stem, travelled by minibus through Doi Inthanon National Park and over a steep and winding mountain road to be there. It’s a journey of 140km, taking approximately two and a half hours. The group was rewarded by being in time for the parade, in which oven textiles rather than flowers were being celebrated by the people of Mae Chem.
The local Tai Yuan weavers are famous for their cloths, particularly the intricate Teen Chok hem bands, woven in a discontinuous supplementary weft. These textiles were prominently displayed in the parade - on the elaborate skirts, decorating floats, and as a design pattern on various surfaces.

A beautiful example of a woven hem band.
The Hmong, Lawa and Karen communities who live in the mountainous region were well represented in the parade, all showing their costumes with pride. Even the humble baskets that Karen men and women use to carry goods up and down the mountains were featured.
Cotton is grown in the region and is the main fibre for women’s clothing, spun in a variety of thicknesses and dyed. The decorative hem band called a teen is approximately 30cms wide and woven by women. The hem band is worked on the reverse side by the weaver, and each thread of the discontinuous supplementary weft is picked out with the aid of a porcupine quill - a very time consuming and intricate craft.
The weaver chooses from a wide spectrum of coloured cotton yarn, sometimes using silk if available. Red, indigo, greens and gold are popular hues. The design is geometric, but occasionally motifs such as birds can be discerned. Once the hem band is complete, it is sewn to the central panel, (sin) of the phasin (tubular skirt). The phasin is the largest section, with two smaller panels making up the waistband (hua); one a deep red /brown and another of un-dyed cotton and distinguishable from the hem band. Traditionally, these sections would be hand sewn together but many of the phasins observed were woven as a piece in plain weave. The stripes are arranged in the warp in various widths - some with interesting plied yarns known locally as da moo. The phasin is then folded into a pleat or gathered at the waist and worn ankle length. The hem band and the striped panels are horizontal on the skirt.
A few of the group had visited Sbun Nga Textile Museum in Chiang Mai with the Expats Textile Arts Group the previous week to gain some idea what to look for. Several fine examples - many using silk as well as cotton are on display. They learned from verbal communication with the curator that the fine historic examples exhibited were reserved by women for special occasions. Also, that it was customary for women to choose a favourite example to wear for their own funeral (the textile is not cremated with the deceased.) This museum experience showed what could be witnessed in Mae Chem - an appreciation by the whole community of the time and value of workmanship in the woven product.
Nussara Tiengkate of Mae Chem and Chiang Mai, a local weaver and textile instructor met us in the market area and directed us to the textile exhibition and demonstration area. There was a wonderful atmosphere reminiscent of a country fair. Visitors were able to examine the teen chok examples which had been juried; to meet local craftspeople who were demonstrating their wares, and to purchase examples.
Nussara then took our group for lunch at her delightful Lanna home and showed us her weaving workshop space and textile store. One of Nussara’s important contributions is to teach young people how to weave and to keep the tradition of the weaving culture alive in the community. She runs classes at some schools in the area and at her home near Mae Chem.
This completed a very informative and interesting day, including a scenic ride through Doi Inthanon National Park and a chance to stretch our legs at one of the waterfalls on the return journey.
Further textile
Chiangmai Textile Group – informal events scheduled approximately each month, usually on weekends. For details: Studio Naenna City Showroom (Patricia Cheesman or Ms. Lamorna). 22 Soi 1, Nimmanhaemin Road.: Tel: 053 895 136. E-mail:emailus1 @studio-naenna.com
Expats Textile Arts Group – meet first Friday of each month at Raintree Centre.
Contact Janet Greenleaf: E-mail:[email protected]
Nussara – Shop in Charoen Rat. Chiang Mai. Tel: 053 302072, E-mail: [email protected] hotmail.com.
Thai Textiles, Susan Conway, River Books, Thailand. 2001.

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