Handwoven Material from Northern Vietnam
My Aunt Jane had a suggestion: that for any friends and/or family who may be reading my blog, I create a little online opportunity to have me bring home some of the great deals on beautiful handmade things that I can get so easily where I am.
[Since I don't really want to start up a comprehensive online store right now, I'm going to stick to one item: the handwoven pieces of material that are made up North. Since they have already sold this material to stall-owners in the markets here in Saigon, I will not have the chance to meet the actual creators of the material; if this kind of thing bothers you and feels exploitative, I understand. Shop here instead. But I figure I'm not too far from the source--I'm paying tourist prices, which guessing from the smiles I get at the markets will help to feed the families of the stall owners I'm buying from.]
So, basically what this is for is if you look at the material below and think, "hey, that looks great! I want Jess to bring back a few of those for me!" you can let me know how many you want and what sort of colors I should aim for, and I'll gather 'em all up and put them in a box before I fly home.
You won't get the material until March, because I don't want to risk your order getting lost in the Vietnamese postal system. Sometimes it's reliable and sometimes it can take months. So... to cover the excess baggage costs, let's say each piece of material will be $8.00. I'm guesstimating but I think that will cover my costs as well as be a good deal for you guys. And hey, no hard feelings if you decline. I'm putting my feelers out there, seeing if this would be welcome to anyone. So here goes!
Here's an overview of what the material looks like when folded up. Keep in mind that while I haven't altered the pictures in any way, I was taking the snaps in fluorescent light. This means that the colors, while true enough, are a lot less grainy and more vibrant than it looks like here.
THE SIZE OF THE PIECES:
Roughly 2' by 5'. These are handmade, so the size varies by a few centimeters from piece to piece. You can definitely make a blouse or skirt with one piece, though. The Vietnamese make them into handbags, camera cases, waterbottle holders, you name it.
Ok, here's the fun part. They're always different from one piece to the next, but I've noticed a pattern in similar color schemes. Here's what I've picked out as example pallets:
1. The Standard (orange, red, purple-- the most commonly found)
2. The Pastel (beautiful ashy pinks and lavenders)
3. The Christmas (forest green and red- made even more wintery by the snowflaky pattern woven into all of the pieces)
4. The Maroon (this one is like the standard but with a deep red instead of the firey orange)
5. The Purple (seem to be woven a little thicker; more indigo hues)
Here are some macro shots of the woven bands of pattern that separate the main blocks of color.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS!
Click the "add a comment" link below. In the name box, you can choose anonymous or type in your name, but either way please fill out the commentbox like this:
-HOW MANY PIECES YOU WANT ME TO BUY FOR YOU
-WHICH COLORS YOU WOULD LIKE
and ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO TELL ME!
I think we'll either do checks written to me, COD. Unless I can figure out my Paypal account before then! I'll work on it.
This entry will continue to be online. I'll write other journal entries, but you can navigate back to this one by using the archives on the right side of the page. In March, right before I leave, I will hit the markets and collect as close to what you would like as possible (keeping in mind that since these things aren't produced through a company, they're going to vary a little bit). When I arrive back in the states, I'll mail them to you (or if I'm lucky, I'll bring 'em to you myself).
Hope this doesn't come off as too enterprising. And now, back to your regularly scheduled travel blog. :)