Journey to Houaphan: OPT’s Village Weavers Project

Journey to Houaphan:
OPT’s Village Weavers Project

Jo Smith, Ock Pop Tok co-founder, regales us with the story of a spontaneous journey to Houaphan Province in northeastern Laos. This journey jumpstarted the Village Weavers Project, a dynamic model for village-based collaborations. Since the trip, the Village Weavers Project has evolved and grown, helping Lao women weavers and artisans access markets and preserve their cultural traditions.
opt divider small 01 - Houaphan

Most visitors to our shops in Luang Prabang and the Living Crafts Center invariably ask us to explain the ins-and-outs of our Village Weavers Project. In this episode, we hear about this landmark project directly from Ock Pop Tok co-founder Joanna “Jo” Smith.

Live from the banks of the Living Crafts Centre, Jo discusses how the appearance of a fabulous textile and a spontaneous journey was the first step in the creation of the visionary Village Weavers Project, a collaboration involving over 500 artisans from 17 ethnic groups in 15 provinces across Laos.

opt laos blog ropt village weaver map - Houaphan

Taking us into the misty mountains of northern Laos, Jo tells us about finding some of the country’s most distinctive Tai Daeng weavers deep in the forested valleys of Houaphan Province We discuss how projects take shape and their impact on the local community. Finally, we bring you details of the forthcoming Village Market Fair, a community on-site and virtual event that brings together artisans from the mountains to Luang Prabang town for a celebration of textiles, craft and food!

About the Houaphan Collection

The Tai Daeng are considered Laos’ best silk weavers, and this collection is an exclusive collaboration between Ock Pop Tok and a group of skillful Tai Daeng weavers from Xam Neua in northern Laos’ Houaphan Province. Using exceptionally lustrous, handspun silk fibers, the weavers create textiles rich in traditional cultural motifs rooted in ancient shamanic beliefs and Buddhist iconography.

The weavers offer both traditional motifs and contemporary interpretations, demonstrating their creativity and skills as Laos’ preeminent textile artists. Full of mythical creatures, the textiles tell many stories, particularly of the Naga, or serpent. 

If you are interested in acquiring a piece from the Houaphan Collection, send us an email!

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