Beyond Tradition : Lao Textiles Revisited

Beyond Tradition : Lao Textiles Revisited

Beyond Tradition: Lao Textiles Revisited
(The Handwoven Textiles of Carol Cassidy)
Cassidy, Carol
New York: The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, 1995
Printed in Hong Kong by Pearl River Printing Company

I wanted to read this book as an inspiration for opening a gallery, as this American woman has been successful in trying to bridge cultures and bring new technologies and marketing skills to a Southeast Asian country with an impressive textile tradition. Carol Cassidy, formerly a consultant to the United Nations, in 1989 established a business in Vientiane which involves working with and training local Lao weavers and dyers, producing wall hangings, clothing and custom furnishing fabrics which utilize traditional design motifs in making products to meet contemporary market demands. “With the combination of her entrepreneurial skills and her talent as a weaver, Carol Cassidy is a catalyst in the preservation of Laotian weaving. Her fine sense of color and design has resulted in the production of finely made fabrics which draw from and preserve past traditions by bringing them to the present.” (Foreword)

This publication was produced in conjunction with the exhibition, Beyond Tradition: Lao Textiles Revisited that was held June-September 1995 at the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology. This book, with a brief text and fine quality photographs of contemporary weavings from her workshop juxtaposed to older textiles that serve as the inspiration for contemporary pieces, is itself an inspiration. Photographs also illustrate the weaving process. Weaving types are weft patterning, weft ikat, and interlocking tapestry. I was particularly impressed by the artistry and simplicity of Cassidy’s showroom in Vientiane, which is photographed.a

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