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The Stories Behind Our Designs

Otomis from Mexico

For centuries, the people of Mexico have been renowned for their beautiful and colourful textiles.  When a severe drought in the 1960’s in the mountainous state of Hidalgo province threatened farmers with economic ruin, the local Otomi people were forced to find sources of income.  Drawing on the ancient artistic traditions of the region, they adapted the ancient designs of Otomi embroidery and clothing, simplifying the floral and animal designs that had been part of the culture for centuries. The original motifs used in Otomi embroidery are believed to have been inspired by ancient cave paintings – depicting plants, animals and natural forces.  As the designs have evolved, the subject matter has become more diverse and modern Otomis reflect not just the Mexican flora and fauna, but also the individual artisans view of the world, the history of their culture and their view of the world. 
Loom’s beautiful Otomi pieces have been carefully designed and as with our other textiles, we aim to bring a more contemporary feel to a traditional art form. Each unique piece is delicately hand drawn and then hand embroidered with silk thread on cotton or linen by skilled artisans.

Suzanis from Uzbekistan

The name "Suzani" originates from the Persian word for needle, “suzan”. It is a type of embroidered and decorative textile traditionally handwoven in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan by the women in a bride's family as part of her wedding dowry.
Each unique design tells a story using traditional symbols and motifs such as the sun and the moon, flowers, leaves and vines, fruits (especially pomegranates - whose seeds symbolise fertility) and sometimes fish and birds. These motifs were believed to imbue the Suzanis with spiritual powers, offering protection or strength to their owners.
Loom's beautiful Suzanis are handwoven with silk thread and pull on traditional designs with a modern twist.
Backstrap weaving from Myanmar
The women of the remote Chin region of Myanmar have been weaving their traditional costumes on backstrap looms for centuries and the intricate patterns and colours are steeped in tradition. In recent years, amid concerns that this ancient art was in danger of dying out, due to economic and social pressure there has been an effort in Myanmar to revive and preserve this ancient art form.  Cooperatives and social enterprises have been set up to encourage younger women to take up the craft, usually being taught by their elder female relatives who are the last of the region’s master weavers. 
Loom’s stunning designs are all woven by Chin women on traditional backstrap looms, using the finest silk and cotton and dyed naturally using indigo and other vegetal dyes. The patterns and motifs, of which there are over 150, reflect the Chin culture and each piece tells a unique story.  We have drawn from these traditional patterns and reinterpreted them in a contemporary way – maintaining the relevance of this ancient art to modern life.  Depending on the size and complexity of the design, a single piece can take between one week and several months to complete.
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