This gallery is one of my favorite places in Yangon! Where else to find a jewel like this Acheik silk fabric in all natural dye?! This is the most beautiful and artful piece I have found so far!
The owner Daw Phyu Ei Thein is not just doing a fantastic job in running this textile gallery with fabrics and products of high quality from all areas of Myanmar – she also follows the concept of a social enterprise. Her aim is the promotion of sustainability at all stages of the production – e.g. by using natural dyes and paying a stable salary to the weavers she works with – in contrast to the usual wage per piece.
And on top she is a super lovely and knowledgeable person! I would like to give back some of her support in connecting me with others in my particular research area in this form.
You can find the Gallery at:
Shangone St (near the junction Dhammazedi & U Wisara)
No.54, 1st floor
Through mutual friends I got to know a monk who called me yesterday, so that I spontaneously visited today. I expected to learn more about Buddhism and monastic schools. Instead I learned about his fascinating drive to establish a school beyond the local notions of a school, including more than demanded by the regular curriculum and emphasizing English training, so I was able to easily talk to all the teachers working there as well.
I heard that he comes from a village where weaving is one source of income. Thus I happily agreed to visit it, too. But also here I was surprised to find myself in a village strongly influenced by exactly the kind of weaving that I study. With his excellent translation abilities we managed to receive so much further leading contacts, clues and ideas that I now write this instead of facing the amount of new knowledge that I should right away document in my field notes…
But the motorbike rides take their toll and my concentration won’t suffice this activity. My sleeping rhythm has meanwhile adjusted to the myanma daily routine so I will do this in the early morning instead.
On our way back from the village, the monk on the mototaxi in front of me – in the background Sagaing Hills.
For the time being, I am still not able to conduct in-depths conversations in Myanma. And the very specific terms necessary for my research have to be collected at various points, like dictionaries, materials of the weavers and schools as well as orally transmitted and written down by whom ever happens to be around.
Sometimes it helps just to point at words if my pronunciation is not understandable – so my personal dictionary is very useful at the moment.
At the weaving school there is also a scheme with basic Acheik patterns and their Myanma names that I was allowed to photograph. The next step is to print these out to take along and show whenever necessary and to learn them by heart to hopefully get closer to talking conversations soon.