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From Mulberry Bush to Woven Silk – The Silk Process in Cambodia

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My final day in Cambodia, I took a tour of a silk farm with Artisans of Angkor in Cambodia. I had no idea how much work goes into a beautifully woven piece of silk. I was surprised by the work put into the pieces and the time it took, many took over a month to complete.

First comes the mulberry bush, the food source for silk worms.

Mulberry bushes

Mulberry bushes

The silk worms

The silk worms

The cocoons, they are drying in the sun to kill the worm inside, although this sounds cruel, once hatched the moths only live a few hours, just long enough to mate and lay eggs.

The cocoons, they are drying in the sun to kill the worm inside. If they developed into moths, once hatched, the moths only live a few hours, just long enough to mate and lay eggs.

The silk is spun from the cocoon

The silk is spun from the cocoon

The silk is called raw if it is more course, fine silk is smoother and takes more work to produce.

The silk is called raw if it is more course, fine silk is smoother and takes more work to produce.

It takes a lot of work to prepare the loom

It takes a lot of work to prepare the loom

The threads are counted and tied to prevent the dye from soaking in. This creates spools with patterns.

The threads are counted and tied to prevent the dye from soaking in. This creates spools with patterns.

Tying the pattern

Tying the pattern

The dye comes from natural sources, here she is preparing the dye from a plant

To hold the color, the silk is boiled

To hold the color, the silk is boiled

image

The prepared spools are shown on the bench, the weaving is done very quickly as the pattern has already been prepared

The prepared spools are shown on the bench, the weaving is done very quickly as the pattern has already been prepared

The ends of another raw silk scarf are tied as shown.

The ends of another raw silk scarf are tied as shown.

Working the looms

Working the looms

 

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