Craft Stories 2017-06-04 09:57:18
Almost 80 km away from the center of Hoa Binh province and not very far from the famous Lac tourism village, Pa Co commune is hidden among rocky mountains & foggy all year round. This is a residence of H’mong ethnic people who is famous with hemp weaving, indigo dyeing and wax drawing (batik). H’mong people believe that “only wearing hemp cloth that avoid losing ancestors”
According to H’mong tradition, each grown-up girl has her own field to grow hemp. After two months, hemp grew very well in straight lines and can be harvested. H’mong people cut them down and dry to get fiber. Fibre splitting requires extremely skills of the hand in order to have steady thin fiber. These balls of fiber will be ground in a mortar to get pure fiber. Pure fiber will be whirled in a bigger balls. After boiling some times with ash and wax, the fiber becomes whiter and softer which are ready for weaving.
The H’mong people usually use a belt weaving loom. A weaved cloth will be washed many times to make white, then crush many time on a round wood with a block of marble and wax to make need and smooth. It is the pride of H’mong women to make a good hemp cloth, therefore, all production stages are made very carefully & cautiously, even thread stretching or loom preparing. Based on their wishes to make good clothes, many strict principles formed such as man is not allowed to stay next to a women who is stretching thread or preparing loom because it may cause her wrong operation. After weaving, the cloth must be washed man time, than soaked with ash water and sun dried in order to make white and smooth finished product. A good hemp cloth should be smooth, steady small fiber, white…. and create the feeling of soft and airy for the people wearing it.
H’mong people in Pa Co is not only good at weaving but also at incomparable indigo dyeing. Indigo dyeing is a hard work, time consume and requires a lot of patience. The cloth is dyed many times over many days to get the right color. People usually soak cloth in indigo water during one hour, then take it out for draining, then soak into indigo water again. That process is repeated about 5-6 times before it can be drip-dry. When the cloth is totally dried, it will be soaked again in indigo water 8-10 times. Soaking time is much depend on weather, about 3-4 days in dry sunny time but about 2 months in rainy time. As of that dyeing techniques, indigo color of H’mong people is very shinning, durable and always bring back the fresh feeling.
Hemp is not only durable but also a health friendly product because it do not get mouldy, high absorb ability, and always create the fresh airy for the wearers. Therefore, the demand for linen products is increasing, especially from foreign customers. This is a big chance for development for cushion, handbag, cloth,…those of wild & luxurious culture of foggy Pa Co.