Today I was lucky to get to travel with my friends Laverne and Maurice to meet up with traditional weavers from two of the hill tribes of Vietnam who are members of the Montagnard peoples. The two women are associated with a woman named Betsy Renfrow who is working to help then form an artist co-op for teaching and selling their work. The first thing that struck me was the incredible width of their pieces and the comparative thinness of their warp threads. The fabric was solid and thick with a nice heft to it and appeared to be woven from crochet cotton for the main part but some of the brocade was actually warped with thread that was half the width of the main wrap threads. The main sized yarn was then used. As the brocade yarn. THis technique is known as weft substitution and a great tutorial on it can be found at www.backstrapweaving.wordpress.com. Nach Rahlan (Jarai tribe) and Ju (Rhade tribe) spent about three hours with us in Betsy’s home showing us their work and looking at our own. Laverne’s ultra skillful weavings were well received and you could tell that the ladies immediately understood that there was a common love of weaving and fiber in the room.
Montagnard weavers day one