Pang Xiong Sirirathasuk Sikoun
(Living Creatively in Your World)
In Laos, Pang Xiong was a teacher and her husband was a hospital doctor.
After arriving in the US as a refugee in 1979, she studied to get her nursing license. Now she works full time selling Hmong and Amish needlework out of her home.
“In Laos we made some quilts but not like here. We just used the old clothing. When you don’t wear it any more, take it apart and make a blanket to cover your bed. My mom and my aunt and my sister made some of the clothing in this quilt.”
“Now, I use my culture to make a business. An American lady asked, ‘Can you make Hmong quilt for me, with Hmong things but like an Amish quilt.’ She showed me how the Amish do a quilt, with squares in matching patterns. I say, ‘Oh just like Hmong!’ So, since 1985, I start doing quilts.”
Local Amish quilters noticed the beauty and precision of their needlework and invited Hmong women to start working for them to meet the high demand for Amish quilts. Pang Xiong explains, “They trust us. They see what we have done, so they trust us.”
“I cut the designs and then the Hmong ladies help me do the sewing. If I make a little piece, I make myself. But a big piece, alone, takes 3 months; so you have to have the ladies help you.”