Photo Essay: Hands, Feet, Looms and Thread in Rural Myanmar

Colorful thread hanging above a wooden loom in Sagaing Division, Myanmar.

I recently had the opportunity to visit a rural village just outside of Kalay in Sagaing Division. Roughly two takeoffs and two landings away from Yangon, it’s one of the furthest destinations to reach in Myanmar. India sits just a short drive away to the northwest.

The area was devastated by the floods Myanmar had in 2015. But, a simplified sort of life continues here although it’ll be a very long time before everything has settled back into place.

I went for a photo assignment, and ended up falling totally in love with the landscape and locals. Villagers warmly welcomed us into their community, and what I witnessed during my brief time there was absolute generousness, and a kind of curiousness you only sense far away from big city life.

The main source of income for residents is farming and weaving. Wooden looms can be seen under many of the town's stilted homes. Weaving is more than just a job. It’s a livelihood passed on from generation to generation, from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter. This photo essay highlights some of the hands, feet, looms, and colorful thread I got to see in action.

Colorful thread in a basket on a wooden loom in rural Sagaing Division, Myanmar.
Colorful thread in a basket on a wooden loom in a rural community. Sagaing Division, Myanmar. December, 2015.

Thread hanging from a post near a loom in Sagaing Division, Myanmar.
Thread hanging from a post near a loom in Sagaing Division, Myanmar. December, 2015.

A woman spinning pink thread to prepare for weaving in Sagaing Division, Myanmar.
A woman spinning pink thread to prepare for weaving in Sagaing Division, Myanmar. December, 2015.

Fabric coming to life on a loom in rural Sagaing Division, Myanmar.
Fabric coming to life on a loom in rural Sagaing Division, Myanmar. December, 2015.

A woman's feet control a wooden loom to create fabrics in Sagaing Division, Myanmar.
A woman's feet control a wooden loom to create fabrics in Sagaing Division, Myanmar. December, 2015.

A woman's hands work the loom to make a red piece of fabric in Sagaing Division, Myanmar.
A woman's hands work the loom to make a red piece of fabric. Sagaing Division, Myanmar. December, 2015.

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