Hello, friends. As you know I have a passion for handweaving. I am proud to carry on the weaving tradition of my family and in this part of the country.
As I continue to make my way in the online fiber arts industry, I am increasingly concerned to see items for sale by handweavers claiming to be from the United States and selling shawls and rugs made from luxury fibers at VERY low prices. Yesterday I saw a "handwoven pashmina shawl" for sale by a U.S. seller for $18. What is pashmina? Here is an explanation:
The name comes from Pashmineh, made from Persian pashm ("wool".) The wool comes from changthangi or pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas. Pashmina shawls are hand spun, woven and embroidered in Kashmir, and made from fine cashmere fibre. -- Courtesy, Wikipedia).
The old adage comes into play here. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Before you buy something that claims to be handwoven, consider this: children in Asia are put to work as weavers at very young ages. I hope that you'll take a few minutes to watch this "Save the Children" video entitled "Children of the Loom." It will make you think twice about buying that "bargain" that you've found online.
What can you do? Before you buy something "handwoven," consider asking a few questions of the handweaver/seller in question.
Here are some suggestions:
1)Can I see a picture of your loom in your studio?
2)Do you warp the loom yourself?
3)How long does it take you to warp your loom?
4)What is the weave structure that you use to make this item?
5)How many people work in your studio?
6)Can I see a picture of your studio?
7)I'd like a fabric swatch. Can you send me one?
8)What is the brand of loom that you use?
9)Where do you get your weaving yarn?
An independent handweaver should be able to answer all of these questions to your satisfaction.
Here is the link to the Save the Children video. Please watch!
Be well, Kate