Spaces for Knowledge Exchange – Working with the Weavers
The weaving season is on – so we went to conduct some hands-on discussions on material, technique and sales strategies with our weavers around Kengtung. As usually, it is quite a logistical challenge to gather the material needed for this kind of interactive encounter, transport these things and us to villages and find the ladies available (and not in the middle of their work in the rice field). We were lucky – all these potential hurdles didn’t come up and we spent a great time with all villagers. Discussing the general status of village life and changes coming up in the future as much as our specific endeavour: Shawls for Myanmar.
The ladies received the feedback from last year’s shawl sales together with suggestions on how to improve the quality and therefore their sales. We also discussed potential new product ideas. Together with 4 weavers we also started a trial with Myanmar organically dyed cotton threads. As this require a slightly different technique and is a little more difficult, we will need to wait and see if this is a useful alteration to the production process. If it is – you will be the first ones to know!
Enthusiasm about earring-blanks as well as the scissors and ideas we brought
Material exchange was part of the visit – for dinner we cooked a lovely fresh pumpkin curry
Of course we stocked up again and proudly present our ladies’ newest shawls at the Dreamland Guesthouse Mandalay, Dreamland Guesthouse Ayethayar (near Inle Lake), Wai Wai’s Place Bed & Breakfast Yangon / Shan Noodle Restaurant (Roof top!!!), and a soon-to-be-disclosed location currently being established in Kengtung. As before, we stick with the idea to honour each artisan behind the product – so every tag includes the name of the lady who wove it.
How our Weaving Project started in the last Year:
The rainy season has just started – there are no visitors around that would buy the handwoven fabrics in the villages.
For many families this means that the only additional income is missing right now – and that in a time when the village gets inaccessible, making it necessary to build up some stocks, and the school is starting, requiring writing materials for the children.
To bridge this income gap we cooperate with two local enterprises to sell the shawls in Yangon at Sunflower Textile Gallery located in Kamaryut, Shan Kone Street 54, and at the Dreamland Guesthouse and Art Studio at the corner of 37th street on 69th street in Mandalay.
The village ladies spend most of their free time on the loom to produce a variety of fabrics, shawls and bags. Without exception they are handwoven and bought directly from the weaver: Weaving a fabric takes time and effort, so we feel it is precious to know who created yours, thus we provide this information on the tag – you can be sure your piece is absolutely unique.
The fabrics are prepared, tagged and waiting for you – we are already curious for your feedback!
For the longterm we plan:
- Creativity workshops to improve and develop products
- Sales training: the ladies have little experience in selling their products locally or to the international visitors. We are sure with a little more general information how to sell and how not to sell they can increase their sales successfully. Ideally we can include some English language training here as well.