Textile Treasures from BHUTAN & NEPAL

By suzi click on Thursday, February 15th, 2018 in On the Road, Treasure Hunts. No Comments

In November 2017 I travelled to Bhutan and Nepal in search of textiles and found a treasure trove!  Both countries have long traditions of weaving beautiful textiles.

In Bhutan women and men wear traditional textiles that they weave themselves.  The women wear a KIRA and the men wear a GHO.  The skirts and sashes are usually the kushutara weave – a discontinuous supplementary weft – very complex geometric pattern with lots of colors, similar to brocade.

They also use textiles in their prayer flags – both white ones -to honor the dead- and colorful ones.  They all have mantras printed on them and look so beautiful blowing in the breeze everywhere.  The white ones are in groups of 108,  an auspicious Buddhist number.  The colorful ones are blue, green, red, yellow and white – symbolizing the elements of water, wood, fire, earth and iron respectively.  They also  stand for the five dhyani or meditation Buddhas, the five wisdoms, the five directions, and the five mental attributes or emotions.

Textiles are also used in religious ceremonies and dances and as religious decoration in their Buddhist monasteries called DZONGS which have the most enchanting architectural details.

We also visited a school for arts with lots of young people learning the traditional techniques and styles.  It was surprising to see that many embroideries were made by young men and the boots by the young women.

Another important textile used as rugs, bed-covers, or heavy shawls is YATHRA – handwoven, hand-spun wool in large geometric designs.

Almost everywhere in Bhutan & Nepal we saw women weaving (even on their porches),  sewing, dyeing with natural organic dyes and spinning.

In NEPAL we observed the weaving of DHAKA textiles at a weaving co-op.  We loved the rich colors and geometric designs in silk and cotton.

We also visited the NEPAL SILK FACTORY, also a women’s co-op for growing, spinning, weaving mostly raw silk.  Everyone there looked so happy to be there and with our visit and they took photos put US on their facebook page.  We also went to places where they wove with nettles and with banana fiber.

I could not resist purchasing quite a few textiles as you can see here.  The trip was organized by Serena Lee Harrigan of Textile Odysseys http://www.textileodyssey.com.  This was my third trip with her – Southwest China, Indonesia and now Bhutan & Nepal – always a grand adventure!


Flea Market Finds

By suzi click on Monday, March 9th, 2015 in Treasure Hunts. No Comments

Here are the treasures found in our three happy hours at the Melrose Trading Post, rated among world’s best flea markets in AFAR travel website.

Suzi found a hand-made straw and leather African hat, a funky wooden fish, photo frames, a Burmese kalaga vest and a lapis inlay bracelet all for $102

Gretchen pounced on a giant ruffly sun hat, madcap sunglasses, chunky bone-with-brass bracelets, Ethiopian crosses with Coptic icons inside, African beads and a silver Hill Tribe necklace for $297.

Treasure at the Thrift Store

By suzi click on Friday, February 20th, 2015 in Treasure Hunts. No Comments

Thrift store shopping is a treasure hunt! You never know what you will find but today I went to 2 stores and found these wonderful things . A beaded skirt made in Bali with the original $245 price tag on it. An Italian wool paisley scarf, a chenille hand -loomed scarf from a weaving co-op in Maine, a felted cloche style hat, a knitted beret with sequins, snakeskin jeans from Jones New York and a painted box from Peru and folk art pottery bottle – all for under $100.

Vintage Fashion Expo Los Angeles Fall 2014

By suzi click on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 in Treasure Hunts. No Comments


This year’s Vintage Fashion Expo had a glossy feel in its new location downtown at The Reef , 1933 Broadway.  More space to shop in, a nice coffee bar and seating area and a dressing room all gave it an upscale feel.

Something for everyone, of course, from a Gaultier psychedelic print caftan at a bargain $300, to beaded Victorian jackets (the one I chose is a real stunner at $180 has a 3 part back peplum to accommodate a bustle)  Susie Londoner of Vintazia featured her new retro contemporary line of challis bloomers with matching tops and dresses.  This line is aptly called  “What Would Susie Wear?” , the question we less than 6 feet of dancer’s legs and ponytail often ask ourselves.  I bought some cute Betsey Johnson embroidered shoes from Susie, a perfect match to the bloomers.

Jewelry designer as I am, with a strong Asian influence in my work, I had to visit Connie Parente and Katherine Manzini’s collection of exquisite antique Chinese pieces.  I did get some lovely pieces to incorporate into my designs from Katherine, then it was All About ME and some kingfisher earrings at Connie’s where Suzi found a wonderful whiskey amber ring.

The usual plethora of delicate negligees and slips form the 30’s were in evidence , a bit out of season for our fall shopping list, I tried to try on a couple of flapper dresses but could not get them over my shoulders-MUST have been the long sleeve t-shirt I had on underneath….

Some things that got away  – a fabulous kilim rug from the Caucuses for $3800,  intricate patchworked Seminole Indian skirts that Suzi lusted after in the $700 and above range. Suzi also said goodbye to a mauve sheared coat light as a feather but too small-otherwise almost  a no-brainer for $450.  It broke my heart to leave behind a silver prayer box necklace with its broken  coral strings which I could have fixed so easily but at $700 I had to leave it with Connie Parente

So here we are pictured in some of our haul – I in my Victorian beaded jacket and gold painted & sequined skirt and Suzi in her thrift shop and Rose Bowl flea finds accented with a beret with her Mom’s 1940’s Tiffany brooch.

We shopped til they turned off the lights sand threw us out with the vendors but the show continued on Sunday October 19 for more nostalgia and second hand designer theme.


Ikats and Batiks from Bali and Java

By suzi click on Thursday, October 9th, 2014 in Treasure Hunts. No Comments

On my recent trip to Bali and Java I saw hand-drawn & dyed batiks and hand-tied, dyed & woven ikats.

The double ikat is the featured image. It is very special type of ikat – both warp and weft threads are tied & dyed before weaving.
This technique is practiced in only 3 locations in the world.
Genringsing like the one above is made in Tengenan Village in Bali.
Patan Patola saris are made in Gujurat, India (I visited there in 2007)
Katsuri double ikat indigo textiles are made in Japan

Below are images of the presenting and making of these Indonesian batiks and ikats
and the textiles I purchased – look for them in my new designs!

Recent Textile Treasures

By suzi click on Sunday, August 10th, 2014 in Treasure Hunts. No Comments