An investigation of Isan textiles at the village level in North-Eastern Thailand with particular reference to design and manufacturing strategies

  • Anasee Pengsaa Stone

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research is set in the context of a collaborative agreement between the Industrial Design Department, University of Canberra and the Faculty of Applied Art and Design at Ubon Rajathanee University in the northeast or Isan region of Thailand. In this thesis the textile production of the region was studied with an objective of evaluating the potential for product design process to positively influence production outcomes. Traditional textile production techniques could be lost because these processes are complex and slow, and the current environment, both physical and operational, is changing rapidly. Product design and the design process are relevant to the industrial development of Thailand and village textile production could benefit from structured design and manufacturing strategies that have a consumer focus and improved production outcomes. From a critical review of the relevant literature, it was found that village weavers valued the traditions of their craft and traditional patterns and colours were important in terms of cultural identity and village social organization. Product design process or more specifically, the Generic Design Process (GDP) was reviewed and a model developed that adapted the GDP to the prevailing research environment. The findings led to a program of field research including village interviews where the major issue of the devaluation of traditional natural material dyeing techniques was identified. Field experiments tested alternative dyeing techniques which were evaluated in a survey by village weavers. During the field research care was taken to adapt to the way in which village weavers lived and worked as the two activities were closely interrelated. The degree of skill and knowledge residing in the aging women, who constitute the majority of village weavers, in extensive and profound, and is often described as an example of local wisdom. The theoretical and experimental work has been related, with appropriate results and conclusions, to the potential for maintaining traditional natural dyeing processes albeit with different preservation techniques. The findings from this research suggests that product design processes are appropriate for village production and that the tradition of natural material colour dyes will survive, new colours were created and the potential for new trade in preserved colour dye products. Substantial databases of useful relevant information have been compiled and recommendations are made for future research.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorLivio Bonollo (Supervisor) & Don Carson (Supervisor)

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