Tribal Weaving Styles

Tribal weaving styles have not only dominated the entire hobby of weaving, they are the basis on which the entire art-form rests. When you start the process of taking up weaving as a hobby, tribal weaving styles are exactly what you have to refer to because in the end, they are the basic elements behind any form of weaving technique. Without knowing these basic tribal weaving styles, you are unlikely to get a foot in the door of this hobby.

No matter what class or course you join, what book you read or what video you watch, you will be introduced to things that were created by ancient tribes and civilizations, and those techniques and styles still work today. Despite modernization and industrialization, all we have been able to do is mechanize those steps and procedures. Here are some tribal weaving styles that have stayed strong through the ages and are still the rage amongst hobbyists today.

Soumak Tribal Weaving Style

Amongst the Kurdish tribes of Afghanistan and northern parts of Iran, the putting coloured yarn around the warps is very popular. The take rows of these patterns that they want to put onto the fabric and alternate it with thin wefts that are completely plain-weave. This is a process that takes a long time to learn and master, even amongst the people who have been doing it since they were children.

That said, Soumak is one of the strongest forms of tribal weaving styles out there and that also makes it quite popular. The most common creations, with this style, are bags and other smaller forms of weaving products. Some cultures have even gone as far as producing these products without that intervening weft put into the middle. These are, however, still relatively rare to find and even harder to practice and master. Alternately, changing the direction of the wrapping around the wefts or simply putting down the design's outlines diagonally also make a massive difference to the final piece.

There are also some other variations in the Soumak tribal weaving style that are brought about by simply offsetting the yarn or reversing the structure. While Soumak also presents quite a few restrictions when it comes to using these techniques, most of these restrictions can be overcome by borrowing some of the patterns or motifs that other weaving styles have used over the years.

Brocade Tribal Weaving Styles

Once again, Brocaded designs are amongst the most popular and commonly found designs out there today. These designs are always made using a loom because unlike most other forms of weaving, Brocading also involves making the actual cloth itself. Since the fabric also needs to be woven, it requires the loom to put together the patterns and the fabric and make the final piece.

Weavers put on some fantastic patterns wherein they work on the back of the textile, putting each yarn through the entire pattern area by hand as well as using the loom in the process. Finger skeins are used and they tend to dangle out around the back when they are not in use as such while the only exception is if you are working on something like a tent from Turkmenistan, which has inlaid brocading, and this tribal weaving style requires you to do everything in the same way, but on the front of the fabric.

The Middle-East is a popular and big home for brocading and this tribal weaving style has been used mainly for creating ornamental items such as ala cuval or beautifully ornate storage sacks. You will also find a lot of work done for saddles, hangings along the wall or otherwise, as well as covers for beds or boxes or even tables.

The ability to use the brocade tribal weaving style is slowly fading away in the practical world, not just because of the introduction of technology, but because villages in these regions, where brocading was popular, are now moving towards the art of carpet weaving. This is mainly due to commercial reasons as carpets fetch a lot more in first-world markets than tent-cloths or riding saddles.

There are only a few remaining pockets where brocading still continues amongst tribal weavers and its popularity in the hobby-world also remains limited due to the equipment-requirements that limit the number of people who can use it and where they can use it. If you are taking classes on brocading, you are likely to find someone or someplace where there is enough room to get all the equipment in to learn it hands-on. However, those are rare and hard to come by and most people have to make do with knowing just the theoretical bits about it.

In the end, weaving is all about doing what those tribes and civilizations started all those centuries ago. They did it for necessity and today, that necessity has become a way of spending time, learning a new thing and keeping our mind as sharp as ever. Along with Soumak and Brocading, there are plenty of tribal weaving styles that you can use to keep yourself busy in your weaving-hobby, so just keep exploring!

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