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About the cotton and the indigo

All of the cotton and indigo used to make our jackets is homegrown, without pesticides. The plants are grown from seeds, harvested and then used to make the cloth and the colour. It is an ancient process done in the same ancient way.   Tamay goes on her motorbike to buy the cloth directly from the producers.  It is a 3 hour journey from Taphin village where the jackets and the embroidery are made.  The whole year, in Tan Uyen village, is based around the cotton, indigo and rice. In spring time the cotton seeds and rice grains are sown. The cotton is fast growing and is handpicked in July. It is then stored until the following March for the dry...

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Women, embroidery and superpowers.

Embroidery is central to Red Dzao (Dao or Mien) culture and Taphin village.  In Taphin the Dzao women have some of the very best embroidery skills in the world. To be good at embroidery makes you a good and strong woman.  The embroidery of the Red Dzao is a series of patterns that have been passed down from generation to generation. It is counted stitch work, meaning the stitches are precisely made by counting the warp and weft. The smaller the warp and weft, the more tiny the embroidery is, this is considered the most beautiful embroidery as it is the most difficult to sew.  The technique has never been written down. It is culturally held knowledge that depicts everyday...

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Stitching Beauty

Slowly Slowly … Little by Little Stitching beauty takes time, a lot of time, and a lot of patience. This is the piece I made. It is my superpower. 37cm x 25 cm In autumn 2008 I met Tamay in the market place in Sapa, North Vietnam. I was fascinated by the clothes she wore and the wonderful textiles she had for sale. Tamay offered to teach me how to make their embroidery, just as she taught her daughter and her little sister. In exchange, I helped Tamay to sell her textiles to the tourists who came through the market each day. The learning process took me nearly three months working 9-5 everyday. In this time I reached the middle...

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Who am I?

WHO AM I? WHO ARE WE? WOMEN I want to write honestly about WHO I AM in 2015. This feels important to start this blog and a good time for me to look inwards too. It is so easy to project who I would like to be, who I was 5 years ago or who I feel like on a bad day when everything looks a little gloomy. I am a HUMAN, I am a WOMAN. I live in Bristol, UK. I am a MOTHER, I am a DAUGHTER and a SISTER. I have a French partner. This makes me a quarter French through cultural adoption. I am also a quarter Red Dzao through cultural adoption, but mostly British through...

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