During my travels I have met many wonderful crafts men and women. But equally important to me have been my guides, who may not be crafts people themselves, but have an understanding and appreciation of their local crafts. I am listing the names of some of my guides, so if you are travelling in these areas and are interested in traditional crafts you can contact someone who speaks English and understands. If you say Janet has sent you, they will know you are not just a tourist but are seriously interested in the craft!

Turkey:
Uzeyir Ozyurt, Dervish Brothers Center, Piri Pasa Mh, Mimar Sinan Sk No 6A, Konya. Tel: 0090 (0)332 351 5467 Email: dervishbrotherscenter@hotmail.com. Uzeyir will be able to show you any aspect of the making of kilims, carpets or felt that you are interested in and he has great knowledge of the designs, their origins and interpretation.


Sumba:
Freddy Hambuwali, 75 R Suprapto St, Prailiu, Waingapu, Sumba. In fact when you arrive in Waingapu, just say to any boys about that you want to see Freddy and he will appear sooner or later. Freddy can take you to the villages where they make ikats and Pau cloths and show you all the processes.

Mexico:
Hugo Antonio Santiago, Cuautemoc #5, Teotitlan del Vallee, Oaxaca. Telephone 00 52 (0)95244117. Hugo works at the tourist office at 5 de Mayo#200 esq Morelos, Oaxaca, so can be found there on week days between 9am and 3pm. Hugo has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the textiles and crafts of not only Oaxaca province but of Mexico and Guatemala.

Guatemala:
Lidia de Lopez, 2a Avenida 1-05, Zona 4, San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Antigua. Tel 8315917. Lidia is a wonderful weaver and is expert at demonstrating to Western weavers. Lidia does not speak much English, but somehow it does not seem necessary as she offers typical Mayan hospitality at her house.

Thailand:
Onchuda Kongpapha, 112 moo 16, Tumbol Koothong, Amphur Chiang-Yeun, Mahasarakham 44160. Tel: 0066 (0)43 370472 or email onchuda@thaimail.com. In the tourist areas of Thailand like Chiangmai and Bangkok there are many guides. But the silk producing and weaving centres in the NE are rural areas where it is difficult to find your around. Onchuda lives near Khon Kaen in the middle of the silk area. She is a professional guide and speaks excellent English and is almost as passionate about silk as I am. She can take you to see all the processes of silk production and the different kinds of silk weaving.

Burma:
Tin Win, No. 104, 50th Street, Pazundaung Township, Yangon, 11171, Burma. Tel. 00 95 1294043 (also fax). I really do think that intelligent travellers to Burma benefit the artisans of this country. Transport, hotels and shops are now mostly privately owned, so the money you spend goes directly to who you want it to. I think this it is particularly important to support the traditional crafts people by buying their products.

India - Kutch:
To see all the textiles in Kutch , you need to hire a taxi to travel to all the villages. Sakur Essa Manjothi is not only a taxi driver but a knowledgeable and sensitive guide to the many different communities in this area. His address is Jestha Nagar Road, Bhuj, Kutch 370001. But the best way to find him is to ask around the taxi rank outside the bus station.

If you are interested in Ajrakh and vegetable dye block printing go direct to members of the Siddiquebhai family who used to be at Dhamadka. They will be happy to show and explain the processes. Dhamdka was flattened in the recent earthquake but the Siddequebhai family is rebuilding workshops in a new site nearer Bhuj.

There are three excellent projects working with the local women to preserve their textile heritage. Kala Raksha is at Sumrasar Sheikh, while Shrujan and Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan are based in Bhuj itself. All are worth a visit

 

 


janet@endsoftheearth.co.uk

Tel 0034 968 742 382