When I’m traveling I always make a point of visiting local markets and bazaars to see where the locals shop and what they buy. The fresh produce and exotic spices are always a delight, but for truly vibrant photos, I love wandering through the fabric stalls, looking for bursts of colour like these from Guatemala.
Cloth, colour and pattern combine to tell the story of a place. I find it fascinating, and not just because we are living in a material world and I am a material girl. Fabric and culture are often interwoven ( sheepish grin ) like the ancient craft of carpet weaving that Turkish nomads brought with them when they migrated from Central Asia towards the West; a craft kept alive today by skilled weavers like this lady in Konya.
The production of silk began centuries ago in China, when, as legend has it, a silkworm’s cocoon dropped into Empress Leizu’s afternoon tea and the heat unwrapped the silk. Hot water is still the best way to unwrap those delicate strands of silk. It was mesmerizing to watch those pearly white cocoons bob around in the water as they slowly unpacked their silvery gossamer.
And for something a little closer to home, there’s the trusty old sheep who kindly give up their woolly coats so we can wear embarrassing holiday sweaters. I got to watch these ladies spin wool fresh off the sheep at the Sheep Olympics last year…
… and learned how to use plants and berries to hand dye wool like a Viking at the Brian Boru Festival in Killaloe.
So are you ready to weave your own interpretation of this week’s theme? If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:
- Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Fabric
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- Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
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We live in a web of ideas, a fabric of our own making. – Joseph Chilton Pearce
We encounter and enter our richest, most humanly defining experiences by way of a tear in the fabric of things, because we are running late, or because we recognize, across a crowded room, a face whose lack of perfection allows a unique light to shine through and to stir us with uncommon wonder. – Eugene Kennedy