On 5-6 July, the Product Design and Development Workshop took place in the village hall of Mae See Pee Tai. The aim of the training was for the women to learn how to reproduce new Karen designs, which were made in the refugee camp, whereas new color-matching ideas proposed by Joanne Cotton and WEAVE. Around fifteen weavers participated, both from MSP,T and MSP,N, and Joanne informed the women on quality control and its importance.
The preparation of the venue was carried out by WEAVE staff: P’Nune, P’Saeng, P’Say, and the only man present, P’Yam. The hall perfectly served the purpose, and it is now ready for future trainings.
Joanne, from the EEPPOC organization, supervised the women’s work and gave advice in terms of quality. The products need to meet specific quality standards and have an appealing combination of colors in order to be marketable internationally. Joanne, with the help of P’Say and P’Saeng who served as translators and facilitators, gave some general instructions to the women on how to proceed, measure, be consistent in their work, thus maintaining their reputation as original and skilled Karen weavers. Joanne and WEAVE staff were walking around trying to find out more about each weaver’s abilities and difficulties, and about the techniques they use to measure, trying to give advice on how to improve them.
Children were running around, sometimes trying to catch their mothers’ attention, but mainly playing and trying to communicate with us “farang”. Women, on the other hand, were concentrated on their work, which slowly took shape in the form of shawls before our eyes.
Text and pictures by Sotiria and Elisa