Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Red and Gold

It seems to be another Ock Pop Tok moment.......East meets West!
The interior of the small Wat on the grounds of The Royal Palace in Luang Prabang.

picture via The Globe and Mail


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everyday Laos Textures

Sometimes the ordinary looks extraordinary in a different country.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Laos at Work and Rest.

Some bits of interest re: Laos

a) The French added a silent S to Lao to signify the unification of three kingdoms into one country.

b) More bombs were dropped on this small country then during all of WWII worldwide.

from Wikipedia...
"Massive aerial bombardment was carried out by the United States. The Guardian reported that Laos was hit by an average of one B-52 bombload every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, between 1964 and 1973. US bombers dropped more ordnance on Laos in this period than was dropped during the whole of the Second World War. Of the 260 million bombs that rained down, particularly onXiangkhouang Province on the Plain of Jars, 80 million failed to explode, leaving a deadly legacy.[13] It holds the distinction of being the most bombed country, per capita, in the world."

c) The World bank has declared Laos's goal of graduating from the UN's list of least developed countries is will likely happen by 2020.

d) The state runs two foreign language newspapers - one in French and one in English

e) The state does not censor the internet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More Laotian Silks

The colour combinations were often very inspiring and look what they weave on!
Incredible and amazing.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Ock Pop Tok - Silk in Laos

Ah.... the colours ... the patterns .... Laotian silk is one of the most beautiful in the world.
Be warned the 'silk' often found in the night market is not woven by hand by the child's grandmother as she earnestly tells you. Chinese machine made imports are generally what is sold at the night market and the tourist villages up the Mekong, hence the low price. They still are pretty pieces and can make a charming souvenier or gift however there is no comparison in quality if indeed it is even silk.

To purchase true hand woven silks you must pay considerably more and I recommend searching out a reputable co-operative like Ock Pop Tok. Founded in 2000 by an English weaver/photographer working with development agencies and the Laos Womens Union to provide sustainable employment this is one place where you will find the real thing!

Why the name Ock Pop Tok? It is Lao for East meets West.  Joanna Smith met Veomanee Duangdala in 1999 at a night class in Luang Prabang. Veo was from the prominent silk weaving village Ban Xieng Leck and had been taught to weave when she was just seven years old, she taught Joanna the skill.

From this friendship came the idea to open a gallery which now has expanded to include the
Living Crafts Centre on the banks of the Mekong with a recently opened villa guest house.
Here you will find ancient and contemporary silk designs woven to perfection. There are also works in the ancient craft of batik and some fun handicrafts.

. Currently this work takes place in 7 provinces.

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