Every now and then a textile so exquisite and unique shows up on our doorstep. The first of these was back in 2001, when a trader from Houaphan Province brought to the gallery a long Tai Daeng cloth of ikat and supplementary weaving designs. Veo, a textile connoisseur, was rendered speechless.
Ethnologists write that Lao textiles can be traced back to specific villages because the design is so representative of that unique culture or family. We decided to put that theory to test. Five of us set off for Houaphan, textile in hand, looking for the woman that had made this cloth.
To make a long story short we did indeed find that artisan, the connection had thus been made with a remote community and together we started working on reproducing textiles that took in some cases six months to produce. This was how the Village Weaver Projects started.
You can also read our blog to learn more about the journey Jo, Ock Pop Tok’s co-founder, took 20 years later, in 2020, to go back to where the Village Weavers Project started.
Ever wondered what it was like travelling off the beaten track in Laos looking for the most beautiful textiles? Our Village Weavers Project often takes us to isolated villages. Tag along as we travel from Luang Prabang to Bam Puim in the Houaphan Province.
The Village Weavers Project is a series of initiatives that create economic opportunities for artisans in rural locations around the country. We help develop ranges of handicrafts that combine craftsmanship and tradition with artistic creativity and market knowledge. Our team of weavers, dyers, designers and tailors transfer their skills to aid artisans to make a better living from handicrafts. Have a look at this video to learn more about our knowledge sharing process…
Our craft practice is based on elevating the profile of Lao textiles and artisans, increasing economic opportunities for artisans, and facilitating creative and educational collaboration in Laos and worldwide. Our products reflect a balance between tradition and innovation, East and West. Societies are dynamic and evolving and we believe that traditional crafts should be too. Our work is rooted in the textile traditions of Laos, however we appreciate and nurture innovation in our products and designs. Merging traditions from the east with innovation from the west has allowed us over the last 20 years to not only elevate the profile of Lao textiles but also contribute to its preservation. Have a look for yourself…
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