Friday, October 31, 2008

Fabric shopping Bangkok style

The final textile adventure in Bangkok was a big one. We took the river ferry to Chinatown to experience the Sampeng Lane fabric market. The alley is about 4 ft wide and filled with people, merchandise and porters with heavily loaded hand trucks.

Mixed in were stalls for cheap trinkets and household goods of many descriptions. I did not buy much, just a few notions, because I could not tell the fiber content. I suspect if you shopped with someone who speaks Thai you could find some good stuff, but it was not that drastically different from fabric stores at home, except of course for the ambiance.

While we were in there the heavens opened and it poured rain. The awnings on both sides funnelled the water right down the middle of the alley. People huddled in shop doorways and clerks quickly covered fabric with plastic and tarps. When it stopped people just picked up and went on with their business.

At the end of the street was the Indian fabric market, filled with saris and fancy dance costumes. It was just a riot of color.

We saw these women operating what looked like a sidewalk alterations business with a treadle sewing machine on the sidewalk. Anybody who complains about inadequate studio space etc. just has no idea how hard it must be to live and work in downtown Bangkok, but it was such a rich experience visually.

These were iron-on appliques, but so prettily displayed. We saw so many butterflies in the wooded parts of Thailand, I suppose because of all the flowers.

1 comment:

Paula Scott said...

OMG....these fabrics and textiles are to die for!
It would also seem that having a treadmill on the sidewalk has it practical aspects...