Monday, August 30, 2010


The Ban Phnom weaving village is about 7 kms. away from the Luang Prabang. This is a good place to buy cotton and silk textiles where you can also observe traditional weaving techniques of the Lao people.

This village became one of the acknowledged suppliers of the King. The ban Phnom village is full of history, culture and a weaving experience that you can still find in some other villages in Laos where methods, techniques and patterns are still those of old times.

The majority of the village's production is done according to a technique that uses cotton and silk. The weave is done using thick cotton threads that are often in different colors, which gives it a shimmering effect. Nearly all the families in this village possess 1 or more weaving looms. Some have even created small workshops. The prices of their handicrafts here in the village are a lot cheaper than that of the Night Market.

Lao is very rich in traditional weaving cotton and silk using natural plant and chemical dyes which have been handed down from mother to daughter through the generations. The pride of this craft is evident in the exquisite pieces produced for ceremonial purposes, as well as in the straight, wrap around "SIN " ( skirt ) worn everyday by the Lao women.

In Laos silk farming is organized in production units where the reeling, coloring and spinning is all done by hand. Weaving is rarely done with semi-automatic looms. Most of the time the women of Ban Phnom manually weaves about 1 meter per day, making simple designs.

Here are some facts about silk weaving:

- the silk worm must be fed at least 4 times a day with fresh mulberry leaves. These worms are supposed to eat without stopping for 1 month. At the end of the month, these worms are put into into spines so they can produce their protective cocoon.

- no   less than 5000 cocoons are needed to make 1 kilo of raw silk.

- When the worms are ready .. they are scalded in hot water then the silk is slowly extracted by alkaline baths. The threads are then boiled in pure water so as to obtain the required softness. The more time this process is done --- the softer the silk becomes.  All these stages are done manually. To make one stole , it would easily take a month to make one.


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