It was all over our social media for weeks. We talked about it before the event and during the event, so we figured, why not after the event? We’re talking about our Village Market Fair, of course. If you missed it, this video should give you a taste of what happened at our Living Crafts Centre during these two days. And if you were there, we hope it brings up good memories. It sure does for us!
It was such a treat to have our Oma, Katu, Lantern, Tai Lue, Khmu and Akha artisans back in Luang Prabang.
If you visited our Living Crafts Centre on the banks of the Mekong, you know the centre is a place where our mission and values live and breathe. On November 28 and 29, this was truer than ever. Artisans from our Village Weavers Project joined us from all over Laos. They sold their products but they also gave demonstrations on how silk and cotton are made and worked their magic in front of our mesmerized eyes. They narrated the story of Laos through textiles … In other words, what Ock Pop Tok has been advocating for the last 20 years.
Amongst the artisans, were some with whom we started working only a year ago in collaboration with Trade for Development, under ECL (Project on Promotion of Export Competitiveness and sustainability Support to Public-Private Dialogue in Northern Lao PRD). They came from Oudomxay, Phongsaly and Luang Namtha. And others with whom we have been working with for years through our Village Weavers Project. It was such a treat to have our Oma, Katu, Lantern, Tai Lue, Khmu and Akha artisans back in Luang Prabang. We can’t wait to welcome them back! You got it right! We will definitely renew the experience in the future!
The idea behind this event was to have a free marketplace where producers could sell their crafts. Due to the ongoing closed borders in Laos, very little tourism revenue is making its way back to the villages. This event linked remote village artisans with Lao, expats and international customers, the latter being done through an online version of the event. If you missed it, you can still watch all the videos here.
As you know, Ock Pop Tok is a social enterprise engaged in elevating the profile of Lao textiles and artisans, increasing economic opportunities for artisans, and facilitating creative and educational collaboration in Laos and worldwide.
We honor and respect traditions while also working to modernize processes and design.
We operate on a platform of fair trade that is reflected in everything we do: paying good wages and cultivating local and international markets that provide a sustainable source of income for Lao artisans and their communities. We are committed to minimizing our impact on the environment and training our team and village partners on these practices. We honor and respect traditions while also working to modernize processes and design. Everything we do is rooted in and pays tribute to our Lao culture. We call our team of 90 employees – cultural ambassadors.
We started in 2000 as a group of five women weavers. Today, we have 55 weavers working in our studio side by side, learning from each other and earning a living. In 2006, we started what we call, the Village Weaver Projects. The Village Weavers Project is a series of initiatives that create economic opportunities for artisans in rural locations around the country. We help develop a wide range of handicrafts that combine craftsmanship and tradition with artistic creativity and market knowledge.
Combining a passion for these deep-rooted cultures and the handmade traditions with our business-savvy, we are able to create thriving village enterprises.
Our team of weavers, dyers, designers and tailors transfer their skills to aid artisans to make a better living from handicrafts. Currently, this work takes place in 15 provinces, with 17 different ethnic groups. Combining a passion for these deep-rooted cultures and the handmade traditions with our business-savvy, we are able to create thriving village enterprises. In most cases we work with a government or NGO partner. Learn more here. If you want to hear how it all started with a journey to Houaphan, you can listen to the episode of Radio Ock Pop Tok featuring one of our co-founders Joanna Smith.