Heck, Yeah! Floral Embroidery from Northern Thailand

I bought these bright and colourful botanical-themed embroidered panels in a little textiles shop near(ish) to the hotel we were put up in in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This shop was full of embroidered textiles, but I honed straight in on the old pieces in various stages of disrepair and ignored the new.

This one is practically neon! Look at the fantastical bird.

Used needlework has a softness about it. I know it might seem strange to display threadbare fabrics that have been damaged and torn in my home, but I do not find charm in the perfection and cleanliness of the new. I like the messiness of these worn out pieces.

I like how the backs are just as interesting as the fronts. I don’t mind that they are a little bit dirty, that I can see where the original pattern was drawn, and that some of the tassels are coming unfurled. And the tassels. I chose these because of the tassels! There is a third panel that I did not photograph (I’ve put it in a frame). It has lines of fringe all through it and tassels at the bottom.

I have to admit that I know practically nothing about Thai embroidery except that these are from a northern hill tribe. I believe these particular pieces are Hmong — I am basing this assessment on their bright colours. If you know anything about Thai embroidery, please comment below.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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4 thoughts on “Heck, Yeah! Floral Embroidery from Northern Thailand

    • Yes. I have used pom pom trim in the past, but I think these pieces are where the seed for making banners must have entered my head.

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