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Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos: Textiles, Tradition, and Well-Being
Published by Thrums Books
Part travelogue, part silk-weaving elementary text, Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos is a tender portrait of an American family's travels in Laos's remote Houaphan Province.
'I have only one problem with this fascinating book - it had to end! I felt so well acquainted with the weavers and the authors and the techniques that it seemed like the story should go on forever. Loving, honest, illuminating documentation is how I would characterise the text, augmented by Joe Coca's superb photography.' Janet De Boer, editor of Australia's Textile Fibre Forum magazine for 30 years. What began as a couple's backpacking adventure transformed into a thriving fairtrade business and a renewed sense of well-being. Over the past decade, Joshua Hirschstein and Maren Beck have developed deep connections with the villagers of Xam Tai who raise their own fibre from silkworms, create their own natural dyes, and weave the patterns of their ancestors into healing cloths, ceremonial textiles and daily wear. Their narrative provides an in-depth and rare view into the everyday lives, culture, and craft of Lao silk weavers. Engaging personal stories and intimate photography bring it all into focus: the patience and skill of artisans, the steady pace of village life, and a commitment to honouring the old ways.
Joshua Hirschstein and Maren Beck own and operate Above the Fray: Traditional Hilltribe Art (www.hilltribeart.com). Over the last dozen years, they have developed deep connections with the independent traditional silk weavers of Houaphan Province in NE Laos. Joshua and Maren live in Eugene, OR, USA.
Reviewer: Caleb Simmons
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