On the way back to Siem Reap from our outing to the rural village we stopped at the ‘Artisans de Angkor Cooperative Silk Farm’, which was an absorbing side-trip to see and learn about the process of silk: from growing the mulberry plants, to larva creation, to weaving and dying the finished product. I didn’t know about the fact that they extract both fine and rough silk thread from the same cocoon. Fascinating to watch them pull apart each one and start to wind the threads together.
This cooperative trains many local men and women in this almost lost art of fine silk manufacture and weaving. Of course they had a beautiful shop at the end and we couldn’t resist buying a very beautiful scarf made from the very finest silk thread, knowing that the money went to a good cause! [Ed. Note: Evelyn spent an hour in that shop and almost broke our bank!!]
The Cooperative Silk Farm we visited. Nice to see them bringing this old Cambodian industry back to prominence.
feeding fresh leaves to the freshly hatched silk worms.
close-up of the silk worms spinning their cocoons
How fine this thread is! and strong!!
Combining the threads from the cocoons and spinning them together. Here is the process for the rough, or more raw, thread.
This is the thinner, more fine thread. after the thread is removed, the worms are discarded. or EATEN. Gary was challenged by the tour guide to have one . . . HE DID! UGH!
All dyes used in the process here are natural. These are some of the plants they use, and the range of tone they can achieve is amazing.
Brilliant reds from beet roots.
They tie small sections of silk together; where they are tied, it acts as a resist and they can pattern their dyes this way.
Evie was particularly enthused about the weaving process itself. Such fine threads!