e2 travel

our global classroom


Leave a comment

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

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

 


7 Comments

Highlights of a Far Too Short Visit in Cambodia

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Most likely the most famous temple in all of Southeast Asia, Angkor Wat was on my must see list, but it wasn’t the only highlight of my time based out of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The temples are stunning, but I’m thankful it brought me to a country I’d like to return to.

image

image

image

image

I only had three days, and I decided to make the most of them. I spent a long day exploring the temples of Angkor Wat, meeting my tuktuk driver at 5 a.m. gave me an early enough start to see my fill of incredible temples.

On day two, I wanted to see the people and get out into the countryside. I found the perfect not too touristy tour with a wonderful guide. I learned so much. We started off biking along dirt roads in a small village. Here the children were excited to see tourists, something new to them. One baby even cried, as we looked unfamiliar. We continued biking to a daily fish market. Our bike tour was a great way to see smiling faces of the Cambodian people.

Afterwards, we drove out to Kampong Khleang, the less visited area of fishing villages. This area consists of ten villages and about 1,950 families. I was fasicinated by the people living there. Their houses were built on stilts reaching 10 meters high. There are two seasons, wet and dry. In the dry season, the people are able to farm a bit and access their home by land. In the wet season, the water reaches their porches and everything is done by boat. Even the chickens have their own coop on stilts!

I had lunch in one of these homes, it was lovely inside and I thought I could live in one, but I’m not sure how I’d feel when the rains begin. After lunch and a great discussion about the area, we took a boat ride out to the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap. Along the way we saw a village that floats all year. It even had a floating school! How would you like to take a boat to school every morning? And what about recess?

This little one wanted to ride with us.

This little one wanted to ride with us.

Our curious followers

Our curious followers

Puppy love

Puppy love

image

Daily fish market

Daily fish market, the fish are transported in bags of ice to keep them fresh

How about some freshwater snake?

How about some freshwater snake? Or fish paste? One way they keep fish around longer is to ground it up and store it in buckets. They also dry it in the sun.

 

Village home

Village home

 

Lotus flower field, the leaves have many uses: a waterproof hat, biodegradable plates and to go "boxes", and silk threads can be made from the stems.

Lotus flower field, the leaves have many uses: a waterproof hat, biodegradable plates and to go “boxes”, and silk threads can be made from the stems.

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

image

Inside house on stilts

Inside house on stilts

Photos showing the two seasons, wet and dry (Our curious lunch chef in the background)

Photos showing the two seasons, wet and dry

Boat dock

Boat dock

A year round floating village

A floating village

A floating school

A floating school

Tonle Sap

Tonle Sap