My wife Jenny and I make Thai pillows for a living. That’s my “street cred” for this blog.
Whether I’m in Isaan choosing fabrics and going over new pillow designs with our pillow makers, or in Los Angeles selling and shipping pillows to the U.S. market, I’m immersed in Thai culture.
Thai pillows = Thai culture. You can’t separate the two. I often tell my wife that we really don’t sell Thai pillows, we sell Thai culture. I’ve written an informational resource about Thai pillows at: http://www.houseofthailand.com/Pillow-Talk
Thai pillow making is more than a handicraft. It’s often rises to an art form.
The Thais have taken pillow making to heights no other culture has even come close to. There are folding pillows, triangle pillows, papaya pillows, starfruit pillows, trident pillows, bone pillows, all sorts of bolsters, meditation mats, sleeping mats (mats and mattresses are all classified as “Thai Pillows”.) rectangle pillows, square pillows…the list could go on and on.
And this array of pillowry comes in many sizes, ranging from small to huge. I have a folding pillow at home that takes 4 strong people to lift. I think it’s the biggest Thai pillow ever made. It’s a Thai sofa pillow.
As this blog continues, I’ll take you into the distant world of Thai pillow making. It hasn’t changed much over the centuries, except for the new designs that pillow makers constantly come up with.
Weave some fabric, harvest some kapok, cut some rice straw (if you’re making a triangle pillow) and make a Thai pillow. If it were only that simple! An incredible amount of skill and patience goes into pillow making. Like everything else in life, not everything is created equal. There are good Thai pillows and bad Thai pillows. There are Ferraris and there are Fords.
Thai pillows has unlocked for me the Siamese puzzle box. Along with my Thai wife and family, it has allowed me access to a world mostly inaccessible to foreign eyes.