Karen Village

Karen Village

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Little About Spirit Locks

A Little About Spirit Locks

While we try to record all the information we find, some things do get lost. I found some old notes on spirit locks (at least four years old), which may be of better use if shared, this is unedited, and I think I’ve written a better version else where, but I will get to recording that later.

The spirit locks are strung with the loops on the top, not with an external loop or bar. They are in a traditional padlock shape to help keep the soul within the body. So, they are used to basically to “lock” the soul (which resides in a person’s head) in the body.

They are traditionally worn to the back of a person, similar to a clasp.

It is good luck to give new born babies spirit locks to protect them from evil spirits that might try to steal the child’s spirit away.

In ancient Thai culture, if a spirit becomes unhappy it will leave the body to go back to live in the forests. A person can loose their spirit when they are frightened or in times of great stress. Loosing your spirit does not actually mean dying, a person without his or her spirit will loose their Charisma, and they will be unable to focus.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Announcements about Checkout System

Happy Holidays, everyone!

We have a few announcements about the changes to our checkout system. Please notice the new features at the lower right hand side of our http://www.shiana.com checkout.

The Calculate Shipping & Handling link will open a popup window that will help you find the correct price for FedEx or Standard mail to your location anywhere in the world.

The new Paypal checkout feature forgoes the normal checkout steps and allows you to make instant payment without sharing sensative information.

Please also Note: Items purchased between December 23 - 31 will be shipped on January 3, if you wish for your items to make it to you before Christmas, please select the FedEx shipping option.

Warmest wishes!
-Angie T.-

Monday, October 16, 2006

Want to learn a little Karen?

It’s easy to find words of praise in Karen. Our village has a mix of two Karen tribes (sgaw and pho) and several languages are spoken. Here are some traditional words of praise:

E-dee means Beautiful
Chur means sweet
Book-ka-yan or (Buk-khee if it is a name) means hard working
Su means good

Take note that while you learn a little Karen, the next generation of silversmiths are learning a little English as well:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pam's Interview at Artisan Craft!

Pam (known as 'Klyph') was recently interviewed by Artisan Craft Club on Deviant Art for her finished jewelry. Her close link to the village allows her to work side by side with the artisans with similar tools and techniques. For years, Pam has been the great mind behind many of the new designs that come through Shiana. Her work has been passed to different Karen households to be recreated by the villagers as part of Shiana’s mission to diversify designs, encouraging the creation of unique items for each household instead of mass duplication of existing pieces.

To read the entire interview, please see this link:

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Featured Villager: Noi-tu

Noi-tu is a village elder specializing in pendants which represented peacock feathers. Noi-tu's charms are carefully made from silver wire that are cut and hammered into shape. His new feather charms are perfect companions for anklets and organic pieces.

See some of Noi-tu's work:

Peacock Feathers

Spear Charms (shorter)

Spear Charms (longer)

Monday, June 12, 2006

June Coupon Code: Clasps

Hi Everyone!
I’m sorry that this month’s coupon code is a little late. We have some new clasps available.

Use the coupon code: june01 and get 10% off each of the following clasps.

• Please use this coupon code during checkout.
• Place it into the 'coupon code' form field located under the order subtotal.
• Valid until July 5th, 2006.
• The coupon code is to be used with purchases off http://www.shiana.com only. eBay and eBay store wins are not included.



Sunday, June 04, 2006

Random Pictures: Village Brothers

Random pictures from the village:
Two Karen brothers play in the herb garden.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fun Fact... What's a LAN? (by Pam Thien)

"I thought I'd share this... happy reading!

I was at the village making sure silversmiths were doing well and everyone is happy when we started talking about the rain. One of my village friends said 'It's going to rain a lot only at the beginning of the year (The year starts in April for them) and the rest of the year will be dry.'

I asked him how he knew. He said the 'lan' told him.

Unlike conventional LANs that we have at our home of office, a hill tribe villager's version of a 'lan' is a small lizard with yellow and black tail. Young lans hatch at the beginning of the rainy season. Villagers out collecting food during these times will find a hatchling or two (or a dozen). Apparently, this year, the hatchlings have black at only the beginning of their tail and yellow from middle 'til the end.

This indicates that it will be wet early in the year and dry until the end of the year.Some years, the tail is all black, some years all yellow, while other years yellow first and black later. The Lan hatchlings have never been wrong. All hatchlings born on the same year has the same tail colors. The pattern changes as they grow older, so only hatchlings are used to forecast the weather.

I am now a little wiser. Hope you are too."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bling Ring Bases

Bling Ring Bases Now Available!

As requested, bling ring bases that match the simple summer print rings are here. These can be opened up to enlarge the ring size.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Karen Village moves to Feedblitz

Here are some news for our Bloglet subscribers:

I received the news about Bloglet sending members over to Feedblitz from BeadedStar. Just to let all our Bloglet subscribers know, we have moved your accounts over to Feedblitz, so you can get updated emails about any changes on the Karen Village Blog. Don't worry, there is nothing you need to do. If you are subscribing over feedsburner or another non email RSS feed, things will work just as usual.

-Angie T.-

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ngu-ga and Lumyai

It’s not fruit season yet, but we can’t help but be excited for Uncle Ngu-ga. Many of you have already heard of Ngu-ga from our newsletters. He makes many of the beautiful wish pendants and spirit locks that we carry. Uncle Ngu-ga has been busy. He bought a lumyai orchard a few years back he has been busy cultivating the trees, he had to stop when he was hit with malaria, (don’t worry, he made a full recovery), but he is now back and his trees look like they will yield an abundance of fruit.

This wish pendant is of a mature lumyai tree, standing before the setting sun as it drifts back behind the hills of our village. The inscription next to it is in Karen and reads “Tablu” or “Thank you”. It was made by a neighbor to help bring good thoughts towards all the villagers who also depend on the lumyai.

Lumyai is the Thai word for Longan. (pictured below.) It’s a sweet clear fruit with a light brown skin (that is peeled off before you eat it) and a shiny seed. The Chinese call it a dragon’s eye because it resembles an eyeball. The villagers grow up around large lumyai trees, with branches that are low to the ground.

These lumyai are from a mature tree, in an orchard owned by Pohsow (who makes round and tube spacer beads.) She has had her orchard for over ten years.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

May Coupon Code: Free sized stackable rings for summer

Created by our local village artisan, Jakpho—these rings can be resized to fit fingers size 7 and up. Choose from four different “summery” traditional prints and match them with any of your Karen Hill Tribe silver items. Watch out for matching stackable bling ring bases, and more items from Jakpho to be featured here soon!

Use the coupon code: may01 and get 10% off each ring.

• Please use this coupon code during checkout.
• Place it into the 'coupon code' form field located under the order subtotal.
• Valid until June 5th, 2006.
• The coupon code is to be used with purchases off http://www.shiana.com only. eBay and eBay store wins are not included.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Featuring: Bollywood Cha Cha Fringe Bracelet from Fairy Flash Designs

Featuring the Bollywood Cha Cha Fringe Bracelet from Fairy Flash Designs!

Bright lampwork, Swarovski crystals and vintage Lucite create a splash of color for this very summery bracelet. Shiana Silver (Thai Karen Silver) bells add sound while the purity toggle secures this piece.

See this bracelet and other unique items at Fariy Flash Designs Etsy store!

Purchase components at Shiana:

Purity Toggles

A small note: The Shiana Purity Toggles are made from pure unrefined silver and stamped 'Shiana .999" for quality assurance. These pieces are all hand crafted by our Thai Karen Hill Tribe village artisans under fair trade regulations.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Small Meetings

We had a small village get-together before the Thai New Year Holidays. It was a fun time, (mainly for the kids who got an abundance of toys and candy.) The adults received magazines, shared soda and snacks.

It was wonderful to take a break from the heat and sit under the shade of a lumyai tree for an afternoon :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

April Coupon Code

Hi there!

We have a brand new code for you, today!

Coupon code: april01
  • You will recieve 10% off the following items.
  • Please use this coupon code during checkout.
  • Place it into the 'coupon code' form field located under the order subtotal.
  • Valid until May 5th, 2006.
  • The coupon code is to be used with purchases off http://www.shiana.com/ only. eBay and eBay store wins are not included.





Please send a message to angie@shiana.com if you need any assistance!

Warmest wishes,

-Angie T.-


Friday, March 24, 2006

"Happiness needs not be perfect..."

Last week I picked up a silver charm from one of the Karen artisans. I was one I must have seen years ago but passed on ordering then. It was a simple flat coin charm with the word happiness on it, but upon closer inspection you could see a slight misspelling.

[Happiness / Happinss]
The letters were not uniform, so there was a good chance that this charm was decorated with nothing more than chisels and a good old hammer. I thought it was wonderful, and it reminded me instantly of everything great about the village. After all, isn't happiness what you make of it?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Featuring Nija

Shiana's featured artist is Nija, a silversmith behind some of our most popular pendants, like the rising sun, new day song, and ying-yang coils.


When you live and work with so many other artisans, it is difficult to not fall into the same path of making similiar items. Nija and his wife however, seem to have found inspiration in their partnership.
"Like many other [Karen] artisans, I like to draw most of my inspiration from nature. I made flower antlers, and leaf printed bead caps. But it was when my wife began making necklaces for our children that things took off.
I learned alot from her... the importance of balancing the pendants and finding different ways to conect them. We then started creating pieces that would challenge people by using open spaces and jumprings. I knew we had a good design when my wife could use the items in at least four completely different ways."
Nija's charms are easily incorporated into chains or other fiber stringing materials. His best selling item is the New Day Song Charms.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New Clasps

We just came back with a few new toggles and a clasp to help you finish up your pieces. These are already up on the http://www.shiana.com/ website and should be on eBay soon. You can find them by searching for their product numbers on our store searches. For a discount, type in the cupon code: 'march01' during checkout to recieve 10% off these featured clasps. The code works with store purchases only--offer ends 4/5/2006.

If you're not into making, but into wearing; Try Deevaa Jewellery f0r handmade beaded necklaces and bracelets.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Homes and Gardens

While many Karen (especially in the new generation of silversmiths) are building concrete or brick houses, there are still a number of villagers who choose to live in traditional style homes. These homes are usually on stilts and made of wood, which provides cooling in the very hot summer months.

Traditionally people would raise animals like chickens, and pigs under their stilt homes. In our village, many of the Karen are vegetarians and the area under the home is often used as a silver workshop for silversmiths.

Many homes also have “raised gardens”, which are like bamboo tables tops full of rich soil. The Karen grow forest herbs or sometimes vegetable (from seeds which they buy in the city) within these raised gardens.

The reason why they raise the gardens is to keep dogs and cats off of the vegetables, and to make it easier to maintain and water the plants.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tiny Beads

Few people really understand the work that goes into making the tiny hill tribe beads that are often for sale in strands. As an example, here is a solid cube bead with a small ‘pout-duang’ (commonly known as the flower print) on it. These beads are tiny, usually measuring no more than 1-3mm each.

In order to make these beads, little balls of melted silver need to be cooled, and then holes are drilled to create beads. The beads are then filed down into shape, one by one. This is usually done with a metal hand file.

Then, the beads are strung up for stamping. Usually two or more silversmiths are needed for this, as the job requires both a master and an apprentice. Only a master silversmith has the expertise to make really beautiful beads, but their apprentice would be younger, with much better eyes for the job.

Lastly, the beads are cleaned, sometimes oxidized, and left to dry.