Image credit: Somporn Intaraprayong by Lawan Toyjutturat.
Applications to exhibit at the Selvedge World Fair are open until the end of February and we encourage artisans from all countries to apply. The World Fair is a festival celebrating cloth, culture and creativity and we’re looking for master artisans to join us to share their passion for textiles. We are enjoying reviewing the applications received so far, including from Thailand’s Somporn Intaraprayong.
As inspiration, here we include an extract from Selvedge Issue 87: Folk Art, where Sophie Vent interviewed Somporn about her award-winning work. More details about how to apply for the World Fair follow at the end of the article.
The Embroideries of Somporn Intaraprayong by Sophie Vent (extract).
Somporn’s work is locally produced. It begins with found or cultivated fibres such as cotton, hemp or linen then dyed using local indigo plants, abundant in the hills of Northern Thailand. Somporn describes how the work begins; ‘Every tiny piece of cloth has a long history. In the case of cotton, for example, the plant had to be foraged or cultivated, picked, spun, and then dyed and woven, or woven and dyed – all this before the cloth is turned into something else. To throw out even a scrap of material, therefore, is painful, so we keep everything.’
Next, the raw cloth is stitched by many hands. Local women are taught how to become seamstresses to create densely stitched pieces that are sold at the best international craft markets. Somporn dedicates a lot of her time to sharing her sewing skills with anyone who wants to learn, creating work in areas where employment is scarce. By educating local villages in traditional techniques, Somporn also helps to revive some of the rich heritage that has been an integral part of Thai culture. Indigo dyeing and embroidery are skills that have been practised in Thailand for centuries and can be forgotten in the modern world.
Somporn is a self-taught artist, whose embroidered textiles are now coveted by collectors around the world. An influential moment in her professional development was meeting Vichai Chinalai of Chinalai Tribal Antiques, whist working selling jewellery in Bangkok. Together they have exhibited eight times at the Sante Fe Folk Art Market and have gained an enthusiastic following, including trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.
For more information and to access the application form, visit the Selvedge World Fair. We don’t want costs to stop any artisans from applying, so there is support available for travel and accommodation for any who require it. If you are not an artisan, but you have a suggestion for someone who should be exhibiting, please do contact us and let us know. Applications are subject to a judging panel.