| about this site |
who we are |
site map |
reading tips |
teaching tips |
student tips |
build vocab |
Fashion with a Thai flair
Todayís story is about a fashion designer, Liz Davenport who has found ways to use the characteristic designs and colours of Thai silk to suit western tastes Ė specifically the tastes of women in Australia.
Though there are other parts of the world south of the equator (the down or under side of the globe), it seems to be only Australia that is referred to as the land down under.
In the second paragraph of her story, todayís writer, Usnisa Sukhsvasti, says Ms Davenport got to "go behind the scenes" of traditional mudmee silk. To have a full appreciation and understanding of this story, you too, have to go behind the scenes.
To "go behind the scenes" is an idiom meaning to go into that part of a theatre that the public does not usually see Ė behind the backdrops that are the setting for a play. As an idiom, it means to get to know things that people in general are not aware of. Thatís what you will be able to do in the first part of this lesson.
Going behind the scenes
Mudmee is the Thai name for tie-dyed fabric with regular patterns. The fabric, like the one you see in the main picture, is created by tying bits of string around a continuous long thread that has been wound around a frame. The ties are made according to a pattern, usually one in the memory or imagination of the villager making the fabric.
Then the thread is dyed with one colour. That leaves the tied places not coloured. To make a fabric with three colours this process happens three times.
Finally, the thread is taken off the frame and put onto shuttles (thread holders) ready for weaving. On the loom (the equipment used for weaving), the pattern tied and dyed those three times reappears as the weaver works. Itís amazing.
Understanding frayed edges
You will read in the story that the designer, Liz Davenport, likes to discover the complex colours of a fabric by fraying (pulling threads away from) the edges. Using those frayed edges is a feature of her designs.
Picture the loom on which this fabric was made: the warp threads (those stretched lengthwise on the loom) are one colour, the weft (the threads woven horizontally across the warp) are another. Itís easy to understand why this foreign woman became fascinated with the silks she found here in Thailand.
From folk wisdom to the catwalk
Todayís story is really about Ms Davenport and her exploration of Thai silk. Below is some information for you to think about and a few questions to find answers to as you read the story.
Liz Davenport is making changes to some of the oldest traditional products of Thailand. She has taken traditional fabrics, cut off pieces and used them in ways that are quite different from the way they are intended by the villagers who produce them.
Do you agree that is the right way to preserve traditional skills? Do you think there are more advantages than disadvantages to the work of people like Ms Davenport? Do you agree with the ideas in the story or do you think there is a better way? There are no correct answers, of course, but whatever your opinion, you must give reasons to support your idea?
OUR STORY FROM THE BANGKOK POST
exotic visualised spree waxed lyrical jersey teamed conventional reinterpreted facing motif off places undulating sensuality advocate bolero skimming myriad muted haphazard synchronise socio-political stood against immensely gush