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Cathayana was started by Min Chiu and her sister-in-law Sharon Wang to create silk scarves and shawls using the ancient Japanese resist-dyeing technique Arashi Shibori. The silk is wrapped around a pole, bound with string and compressed. The process of compressing produces pleats, which are then dyed, leaving a linear pattern of lines where the dye can't reach resembling driving rain. In Japanese Arashi means "storm."
Min has always been a disciplined learner. By spending a tremendous amount of time reading and viewing English and Japanese books on Shibori, along with countless trial and error, she has become a talented Shibori artist. Min gets her color inspirations from nature, carefully calculating the balance of different dyes. Each scarf or shawl is hand dyed, pleated, color discharged and painted one at a time.
In 2001 Cathayana added a line of accessories which includes card holders, jewelry rolls, cosmetic bags. All of these items are handcrafted by a group of farmers’ wives living in a small village in Shandong, China. The silk is hand-woven in Hongzhou, the Capital of Silk in China. Cathayana's goal is to increase the amount of work for these women to generate a sustainable income and employment in the village, while maintaining the highest standards of style and quality.
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