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Ikat Silk Sinhs
“Sinhs have different names that relate to the weaving technique and design employed. As the pheun sin (the body) is the most important part of a sinh, very often the sinh gets its name from the specific techniques and designs used to create this part.” (Sin and Lao Women)
The sinhs in this section are called Ikat Sinhs, because they are woven primarily with ikat silk yarn.
“Ikat, called mut mii in Laos, is the technique of resist-tying and dyeing a pattern in the warp or weft yarns prior to weaving. Multiple colors can be achieved by dyeing different sections in sequence, from the lightest to the darkest tones. Most Lao-Tai ikat is weft ikat, with the pattern resist-dyed in the weft threads and woven on a plain color warp. In this technique, the preparations of the yarn is more arduous than the actual weaving, requiring precise calculations prior to dyeing the yarns. A skilled ikat weaver has the ability to anticipate the final position and registration of the pattern in the cloth as she ties the threads in advance of weaving. The more numerous the knots, the smaller and tighter the bindings, the finer and more-defined the resulting pattern.” (Weaving Tradition: Carol Cassidy and Woven Silks of Laos)
Our selection of ikat sinhs here at Laos Essential Artistry are divided into two sections. One section is titled, naturally, Ikat Sinhs. The other section are the sinhs woven at Ban Saleuy, which are all ikat. The sinhs woven at Ban Saleuy are mostly a mixture of silk and cotton, while the sinhs in our ikat section are all silk. The dyes used are a mixture of natural and chemical dyes. It’s pretty evident in the brightly colored sins that chemical dyes are used, but we like the bright colors of these sinhs!
While these sinh fabrics are designed to be made into sinhs, we think there are all sorts of creative possibilities for using these handwoven fabrics. Bai has made pillows from the Ban Saleuy fabric and we know people that have used long lengths of fabric, similar to what we offer from Ban Saleuy, to creatively define spaces in businesses and homes.
Some of the sins we sell have tdin sinh (the hem portion of the sinh) patterns woven in or actually have tdin sinhs (the hem portion of the sinh) attached. We realize that here in America that if someone wants to buy a sinh and wear it as a sinh, that finding a tdin sin that color coordinates with the sinh would be nearly impossible. So we have purchased tdin sinhs for many of our sinhs. The tdin sins are only temporarily attached by minimal sewing and can be easily detached and then the sinh fabric can be used for any purpose.