Our September speaker was Jennifer Hughes and her talk was entitled “Culture at their fingertips – the Hill Tribe People of Thailand”. Jennifer trained as a Geography teacher, has an interest in needlework and lived for a number of years in Thailand. She has a wonderful selection of colourful garments and hats which she has collected over the years.
Jennifer explained that the Thai government recognises 6 different groups of Hill Tribe people and they all have their own distinctive individual style. They weave their own materials, usually hemp or dyed indigo cotton, on a backstrap loom attached to a tree or somewhere in the house and garments are then made up using the narrow cloth. At a very young age they are introduced to the various techniques and by the age of 7 or 8 children are expected to weave their own cloth. The garments and head dresses are decorated with stitching, seeds of wild grasses, dyed chicken feathers, and in the old days silver, but this has now been replaced by a lighter metal.
We were shown garments from the Akha tribe, the Mien, who are superb embroiderers, the Lisu, the Lahu and the Hmong.
Report and photos by Ros