Bucket List – Top Destinations For Traditional Textiles

Whilst on holiday we’re always up for some textile shopping. But we’re not talking tacky t-shirts and souvenirs. Although it may be tricky to see past the tourist merchandise whilst on holiday, there are some hidden gems if you know where to look. A holiday abroad can actually be an ideal opportunity to pick up some authentic, traditional textiles if you know where to look! We’ve rounded up the Top 10 destinations to get your hands on some traditional textiles & explore how they’re made.

Burma Textiles

1. BURMA

Burma will introduce you to an array of textures, rich colours and cultural treasures in a truly unique way. Like many of it’s surrounding countries, Burma is famous for it’s silks. But instead of crafting from traditional silkworm threads, the Burmese use lotus buds, making the texture similar to a silk and linen blend. There is a strong focus on traditional methods which are proudly displayed at Inle Lake through the creation of traditional longyis.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Scott Market, Yangon – Colourful stalls filled with handicrafts, paintings, jewellery and antiques. A whole department of the market is dedicated to textiles!
  • Inn Phaw Kone – Witness all stages of the delicate art of lotus silk weaving, from the spinning to the final creation of intricate longyis

THREAD YOUR WAY THROUGH BURMA WITH STITCHTOPIA IN 2018. FIND OUT MORE HERE

Indonesia Textiles

2. INDONESIA

If you’re looking for variety, Indonesia is the place to be. The country itself is very diverse (with over 700 living languages!) and the sheer volume & variety of textiles created here is incredible. Often many different techniques can be used together to create a special combination of embellishment, texture and design. The batik design is at the centre of the Indonesian textile heritage & is still very popular today.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Threads of Life, Ubud – Offers classes and workshops to learn traditional techniques such as Batik, weaving and natural dye traditions
  • Tanah Abang Market, Jakarta – The largest and oldest textile market in Jakarta

Japan Textiles

3. JAPAN

Know as ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’, Japan has a long history of textiles excellence. Whilst the country is well-known for it’s ultra-modern and high-tech innovations, traditional dress and textile techniques are still celebrated and provide a striking contrast against modern life. The Japanese have incorporated a number of different techniques into their culture including Sashiko which is a form of hand-stitching (literally translated it means “little stabs”) used as embroidery on all trypes of fabric.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Tokyo Quilt Festival – The largest quilt festival in the world
  • Nippori Fabric Town – “Tomato” is the shop to visit. It offers 5 floors of textiles – a fabric paradise!
  • Itchiku Kubota Museum- A hidden gem! Dedicated to textile artist Itchiku Kubota (with a great tea room & views of Mount Fuji)

JOIN US TO EXPLORE THE TEXTILE CONTRASTS OF JAPAN & VISIT THE FAMOUS TOKYO QUILT FESTIVAL IN JAN 2018. FIND OUT MORE HERE

Romanian Textiles

4. ROMANIA

Romania is underrated in the textile industry. Textile weaving is still very popular by both old and young and embroidery forms an enormous part of traditional dress. Folk costumes are worn for special occasions and the embroidery often follows a regional pattern. Often the pattern’s meaning is only known by those living in the specific region, almost like a secret language!

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Romanian peasant museum, Bucharest – A collection of textiles and artifacts of Romanian life
  • Maramures – Romania’s most traditional region showcasing the true textile heritage

Vietnam Textiles

5. VIETNAM

Vietnam truly is a fascinating country where traditional dress is still very much a part of everyday life. Weaving and silk villages are scattered across the country. Sapa is a hotspot for beautiful hand-embroidery, batik and cross-stitch. The colourful markets offer a chance to shop for traditional handicrafts, textiles and ceramics.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Hanoi – Celebrates the role Vietnemese women have played in history of the country & current arts/family life
  • Van Phuc silk village – Renowned for its traditional weaving and premium quality silk products
  • Sapa Market – Busy indoor market full of crafts, clothing & accessories

EXPLORE THE TEXTURES OF VIETNAM WITH STITCHTOPIA ON OUR SECOND VISIT TO THIS VIBRANT COUNTRY. FIND OUT MORE HERE

Irish Traditional Textiles

6. IRELAND

As well as its stunning scenery, the west of Ireland is also renowned for it’s high quality goods. Creative crafts continue to flourish and traditional crafts including knitting have been revived. Knitting schools were introduced across the country in the 1600’s and since then, knitting has been a source of income for many households. Aran sweaters with their distinctive design are a symbol of Ireland and still inspire designers today.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Ó’Máille, Galway – One of Ireland’s oldest stores selling handmade traditional Irish clothing, crafts and yarns
  • Innis Oirr – The smallest of the Aran Islands, renowned for their traditional ways & home of the Aran sweater
  • Sheep and Wool Centre, Connemara – Marvel as sheep’s wool is made into yarn during daily demonstrations

EXPERIENCE THE GAELIC CHARM OF IRELAND ON OUR KNIT AND CROCHET TOUR IN 2018. FIND OUT MORE HERE

Peruvian traditional textiles

7. PERU

Forget gold, in Peru, textiles were once so important that they were used as currency! Authentic techniques are still being used on an every-day basis as they remain such an important part of Peruvian culture. The country has a long history of Alpaca goods & they remain at the heart of the Peruvian textile industry today & the best place to find them is in Cusco.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • The Centro de textiles tradicionales, Cusco – A non-profit organisation which supports the local weaving industry & demonstrates the traditional processes still used by locals
  • Patacancha, Cusco – A traditional weaving community known for its colourful, high-quality textiles

Indian Traditional Textiles

8. INDIA

When visualising Indian textiles, brightly coloured and embellished sari’s come to mind. Another country who’s textile industry is at the centre of traditional culture, India offers rich textiles, vibrant colours and exquisite local crafts. Unlike many other textile traditions, both men and women are involved in intricate embroidery traditions such as Chikan, Sari and Aari. Find stalls upon stalls of beautiful handiwork on on of the many markets.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • National Crafts Museum, Delhi – One of the largest craft museums in India
  • Lucknow – Famous for its beautiful embroidery, the city is full of authentic gifts to buy
  • Arts and crafts complex, Shilpgram – A living museum of rural crafts covering 70 acres

EXPLORE THE RICH TEXTILES OF INDIA ON A CRAFTING AND STITCHING ADVENTURE WITH STITCHTOPIA. FIND OUT MORE HERE

Scottish Traditional Textiles

9. SCOTLAND

The home of the kilt, Scotland is a hidden gem as far as textiles are concerned (and right on our doorstep!). They have a recognisable heritage including textures such as traditional tweed and tartan. The country is very proud of it’s textile industry and encourages visits to mills and manufacturers specialising in traditional Scottish textiles.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Shetland Textile Museum – Displays a collection of Shetland textiles which shows the heritage skills unique to these Isles
  • Johnstons of Elgin – Book a mill tour and watch cashmere being dyed, teased, carded, spun and hand finished by the latest generation of Elgin craftsmen

Cambodian Traditional Textiles

10. CAMBODIA

The Cambodian textile industry is renowed for it’s silk. The process has been carefully fine-tuned as it has passed down through generations, meaning the quality is exceptional. The silk is often referred to as being ‘golden’ due to it’s natural yellow hue. The silk is still hand woven within the community and naturally dyed to preserve the traditional process and ikat is often used during the dying process.

WHERE TO VISIT?

  • Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles, Siem Reap – A shop and museum dedicated to reviving traditional Cambodian textiles
  • Artisans d’Angkor silk farm, Puok – Offers a guided tour of workshops displaying the silk production process

 

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