In Laos, we are working with weavers whose mission is to
keep alive traditional silk weaving techniques. These
weavers are training a new generation, passing on invaluable knowledge about
patterns and natural dyes. Each region and ethnic group has its own silk weaving
tradition, focused on practical pieces for daily life, including wrap around
skirts (pha sin); shoulder cloths (pha baeng); and baby carriers (pha
Our Lao fabric is dyed with natural products including roots, bark, leaves, flowers and seeds. Production of natural dyes is extremely labor intensive. One fascinating dyestuff is the lacquer resin produced by the Coccus lacca insect. The crushed lacquer is combined with tamarind to make a vibrant red. Many plant dyes require an acid or ash additive to make the dye permanent.