Northern Vietnam 2012 travel blog

B&B on stilts

We missed it! Pattern loop creation completed, darn!

Tools used to draw wax pattern by Blue Hmong

Holding cup for hot wax

Careful pattern creation

Before and after indigo dip and embellishment

Preparation of ash water for alkaline water

Indigo fermenting in kitchen water

Indigo plant

Hemp seeds

Hemp Bushes/Trees

In the misty Pom Coong morning we woke up in our stilt guesthouse, ate breakfast and scurried over to the Thai loom with our translator.

Yikes, the weaver worked late last night or early this morning and finished her pattern holder threading. Sigh, a missed opportunity.

We headed over to visit with the Blue Hmong, described as Pa Co village in the Xa Linh community. This link on some reforest efforts that give you an idea of how the communities are linked. The paper gives you an idea of the interrelationship of the Vietnamese government and the ethnic groups.

In Pa Co village we were shown a demonstration of the hot wax application used to create the patterns for tourist cloth and traditional skirts.

The dyer was very generous with indigo technical information. They dye their skirt lengths and tourist market goods in their indigo pots. Each length starts off 1/2 hour in the dye pot. The dipped cloth is allowed to dry and then dipped again for a longer time period. This dipping process takes place over 1 month, 2 or 3 times a day if they have the sunshine to cure the cloth. They add ash water ever 3 days to the working pot.

We asked about the indigo pot set up, the leaves and stalks are soaked 6-7 days soak in ash water. Actually, the kitchen water after cooking is used so that is the source of bacteria to reduce the oxygen. The soaking takes place in cold weather over 7 days, if the sun is out the soaking takes about 4 days. The indigo plant rots and the plant material is discarded and the water is skimmed off-the indigo paste settles to bottom and is collected and held to add to their dye pots.

Our teacher proudly showed us her Cham plants. Although I don’t know for sure, the species looked like the Assam Indigo or strobilanthes cusia (haum). What was growing had very large leaves, the plant was not thriving as the area was just coming out of the frost season.

On our way back to Pom Coong we stopped and were able to see hemp bushes/trees and see the source of the hemp, which is traditionally processed and used for yardage.

Background info on Blue Hmong

Background info on indigo

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