Not quite OT: Longyi from Myanmar (Burma)

It's not quilt-related; it's arguably embroidery-related; it's definitely fabric-related. I thought y'all might enjoy seeing the collection of longyi that I've amassed over the last 18 years, including two trips to Burma (Myanmar) and one to Thailand. Some of these I bought, many were gifts. At some point, I may need to cull the herd a bit and either gift some along to others or have other types of clothes made out of them because, as I said to my husband, I now own more longyi than I've ever owned skirts of any kind at any time in my life!

Longyi (pronounced "loan-gi" or, sometimes, "loan-gee" as in "Gee, I have a lot of longyi!") is the traditional sheet of cloth worn by men and women in Burma. It's a long sheet of fabric that's wrapped and folded around the waist--the wrap and fold method differs for men and women. Sometimes it's sewn into a cylinder that you step into, then wrap and knot. I've posted a couple of YouTube videos at the end of this post that demonstrate the method.

Tailors in Myanmar generally have a couple of ways they'll turn the longyi into something a timid Westerner like myself, who doesn't trust herself to wrap it in such a way it'll actually stay up at all, is more likely to wear. You can have them made into skirts with zippers, of course, but it's easier to have something done with slide clips or just cut to the chase, have straps put on, and wear it as a wrap-around skirt, my favorite option as it's far more one-size-fits-all. Most of mine have been done as wrap-arounds, though some still have clips. I'm about to take those to a tailor to have them changed to wrap-arounds and altered slightly in other ways.

Here's my collection. The photos don't really do them justice as several of them are beautiful cross-wovens. (Cross-wovens show different colors depending on how they hit the light.) I've included captions that show the ethnic group the design represents and other info here and there. This is an auto-rotation photo gallery, though it does have forward and back controls on either side of the images. If you're reading this through a blog-reader, the gallery may not appear. You might have to go to my website to view it. 

And believe it or not, I don't think that's all of them. I know I've got a Karen top and skirt hanging in different closet, and several Karen tops scattered through a couple of closets. Maybe some day I'll get those posted as well. But for now, this will suffice!


Thanks to following links through some art quilters blogs and newsletters (I apologize, but now I really don't recall whose I was on when I found this), I now subscribe to Hand/Eye Magazine and email newsletter. Hand/Eye "tells the stories of artists, artisans, and designers worldwide." Volume 10, available right now, is about "Craft and Compassion," which is right in my wheelhouse. I'm halfway through the magazine and just falling in love more and more.

Today's email newsletter announced the launch of their new Vimeo channel and the upload of this video about the metalsmiths of Croix des Bouquets, Haiti. . I've seen the artwork in galleries but didn't know how it was done. Incredible. Recycling has never been more beautiful.