Thai Versatility from Heaven – PhaKhaoMa Picnic and Sauna Blankets
Allow us to tell you a little story about our collection of picnic and sauna blankets – ” PhaKhaoMa .”
No piece of cloth is more uniquely related to Thailand than the “PhaKhao Ma” wrap cloth. The fabric and its name originate from a love story between Thai and Persian royalty. Bejeweled waist cloths gifted to the Thai court were called “Kamarband.” This word is now recognizable in the English cummerbund. “Pha” in the Thai language translates to fabric or cloth, “Khao Mah” referring to the “Kamarband.”
They look simple at first, with their square dimensions and no-frill edges, but their multipurpose usage will surprise you. Adopted all over Thailand, this versatile fabric has gained a handy place in day to day life. People use it as sun protection, a bathing cloth and traditional wrap-around dress for both men and women. Or, to keep warm on a chilly morning; yes we do get these in northern Thailand too occasionally. But also to wrap food items for travel, like a blanket, on-the-go pillow for a quick outdoor nap…the possibilities are endless.
So, if you like to swim, enjoy a picnic in the park, love to repose on a sandy beach, have a late-night barbecue with friends at home, or fancy a regular massage and sauna session, this is the cloth for you! Outside activities are undoubtedly enjoyable yet as soon as it turns late afternoon, the temperatures often tend to drop, and you’re left wishing you brought a sweater. Very few things are more comforting than being wrapped up loosely in a soft piece of fabric.
Sustainable Trade for Thai Artisans
We purchase our “PhaKhaoMa” directly from a village co-op store. They represent the interests of all small artisans in the area. Each of them only produces a few handmade pieces which they then bring for sale to this gathering point. There, care is taken regarding quality, marketing, and resales value, ensuring the producers get a fair price for their products.
These “PhaKhaoMa” are made from cotton. The cotton industry is as crucial as ever in the world. Regardless of a market flooded with cheap synthetic fabrics, none of them can recreate the natural feel that cotton brings. Through modernization, a lot of the fabrics are now machine-woven. This practice might lead to picture-perfect tissues, but they have a density and texture that is rough and low in quality.
Our blankets of 70x180cm are soft yet durable. Handwoven by local artisans with a two-ply weave in traditional Scotch patterning. The tensile strength of the woven threads is very different from machine-woven fabrics, leading to its durability. This fabric is also colorfast, easy to wash, and store. Thai people often use these fabrics on a day to day basis, with one piece of cloth, lasting them well over ten years!