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.

img_7098
The process begins by cultivating silk worms on mulberry leaves.
img_7101
Silk worms create their cocoons
img_7102
Cocoons are dissolved in boiling water and raw silk can then be extracted and turned into thread
img_7108
There are various methods for creating dyes through crushing or cutting raw, natural materials, such as the Indigo plant or the Sappan tree.
img_7147
Next, the prepared dye goes into big saucepans and the silk thread is dyed.
img_7148
Silk is then hung out to dry
img_7120
It is also possible to dye silk fabric – here are some scarves hanging to dry after being dyed with indigo.
img_7163
This special machine is used to wind the silk thread onto spools
img_7168
After choosing a pattern, I was able to get started on weaving my placemat straight away
img_7174
These silk spools are passed through the weaving machine
img_7175
Mid-way through weaving my placemat
img_7185
The teacher demonstrates how to make tassels on the ends of the placemat
img_7189
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 ockpoptok.com.

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

2 thoughts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s