Traditional hand-made cotton and silk-woven Karenni fabrics can be found a few miles away from Seattle. In a three bedroom Tukwila apartment, Tee Meh and Neh Mo proudly showcased the woven clothes that they had recently made. Both of them are from Burma and belong to the Karenni ethnic group. In their country, traditional weaving is cherished and passed along generations.
Tee Meh and Neh Mo have always enjoyed weaving. They learned how to weave while they were living in refugee camps. Karenni patterns are unique and each fabric carries deep traditions and history. When they moved to Seattle, Tee Meh and Neh Mo expressed the desire to pursue their passion for weaving. They found a way to restore a loom made out of wood and bamboo. Homemade looms do not take too much room. They are easy to assemble and easy to carry. Neh Mo spontaneously started a demonstration of the traditional Karenni weaving process. Seating down on the floor of the little apartment, she spread golden and purple threads all over the carpet and methodically twisted the colorful yarns around the pieces of wood and bamboo.
During her spare time, Tee Meh used her loom to weave fabrics for a purse and other traditional clothes.
These beautiful and unique fabrics tell unusual stories of two inspiring women. Tee Meh and Neh Mo carried a coveted knowledge and unique life experiences across borders. Precious Burmese traditional knowledge and cultural heritage are now within reach in the small town of Tukwila.
You can learn more about communities of Burma living in Seattle on the following Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/NWCBurma