Several years ago, I found myself in Luang Prabang in the heart of Laos. There are many things to do in this tropical paradise (click here to find out more). If you want to delve deeper into their culture, the Ock Pop Tok weaving class is a great way to explore where silk comes from and how it is prepared. You will gain a new appreciation of the time and effort involved in textile art!

A tuk-tuk will pick you up from your accommodation in the morning and drop you home again in the evening. A delicious lunch is included in the day.  You will learn about all the different dyes and get a chance to dye your own silk.  Later, pick your colours and design, and be guided through the process of making your own placemat or scarf.  Here is a photo tour of my experience.

The process begins by cultivating silk worms on mulberry leaves.
Silk worms create their cocoons
Cocoons are dissolved in boiling water and raw silk can then be extracted and turned into thread
There are various methods for creating dyes through crushing or cutting raw, natural materials, such as the Indigo plant or the Sappan tree.
Next, the prepared dye goes into big saucepans and the silk thread is dyed.
Silk is then hung out to dry
It is also possible to dye silk fabric – here are some scarves hanging to dry after being dyed with indigo.
This special machine is used to wind the silk thread onto spools
After choosing a pattern, I was able to get started on weaving my placemat straight away
These silk spools are passed through the weaving machine
Mid-way through weaving my placemat
The teacher demonstrates how to make tassels on the ends of the placemat
The finished result, which would not have been possible without the assistance of my amazing teacher!

This was such a wonderful experience and I still have the placemat hanging in my apartment to this day.  If you’re inspired to give it a go, check out their website for more details at

Have you ever tried weaving?  I would love to see your creations!

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