Communal Beat

Dispatch from Weaving Villages in Laos and Cambodia

Dispatch from Weaving Villages in

Laos and Cambodia

By: Lynda Drury

Dispatch from Weaving Villages in Laos and Cambodia

First we plowed the rice fields behind massive, muddy water buffalos. Then we planted rice. We sang with village children. We found beautiful baskets, each one purposeful and exquisite.  Ten women, looking for the less travelled path joined me on a chilly boat ride up the Mekong River to a mountain village in Laos. We camped (in lovely tents with showers) and trekked to local villages.

Valley local plowing

This was our introduction to a life so remote from our own.  It also was the backdrop to the amazing complex processes of silk production. It is one thing to visit the weaving studios set up in the touristic cities. They are fascinating, showing the detailed processes up close. Many of them also preserve the most revered traditional patterns.  But, in the actual weaving villages, you see the life that goes with the looms. It is astonishing to realize that this beautiful silk comes from dusty villages where chickens, cows and nearly naked children mingle. Fishing nets are being mended, rice is drying in the sun and cooking takes place on a single burner, all underneath the wooden stilted house. Here, mostly women weavers make the click, clack rhythmic music on the wooden looms. The threads, some as fine as hair, are transformed into marvelous patterns and lengths of lustrous silk.


Pieces: Celebrating Textiles will be showcasing  global and other textiles  stories, highlighting the amazing people that make them. Join us for the weekend, starting Friday evening, March 27th – 29th. Learn more at and join us on fb to get your inspiration on!

silk dyed with natural dyes

Floating Stone Silks



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