Deb McClintock - Textile Equipment in Southeast Asia travel blog

Back beam of Khmer loom

Tying weft for 2nd dyebath

shuttle layers for pattern rotation

Great experience today, spent the day at Mr. Morimoto's workshop. Learned how the traditional Cambodian ikat (kit) is done. Different from the Lao method. For background on the workshop see website above. He is helping over 300 women learn how to make a new living. Best of all is the story of the silk grandmas. He has searched throughout Cambodia to find the women who survived the Pol Pot era to teach the next generation to weave in the traditional manner. I took photographs and short movies of how the equipment is used. There is a japanese indigo weaver, Sawako Tamura, there for two years who spoke enough english to help me figure out the traditional steps. When we get to where the computer lines are more stable I'll upload some of the photos. Fascinating to watch the beginners reel and clean the silk of noils, then wind up pirns for plying the silk then reeling them back into skeins for running them in soda ash water to bleach the silk with banana tree fibers (source of soda ash). Bringing back samples of colors made with lac, coconut, bougevilla flower. He is only using traditional natural dyes for his color palette. Very expensive he is holding to a high price for the product in order to support the school costs. Teacher, Sreng, took time to show me how to tie pattern knots with banana stalk fiber, very patience showing me how my figures should twist the banang fiber around the silk. Sawako, my Japanese teacher, helped me understand how the pattern rounds were transfered to hand bobbins and the pattern rotation thru the loom. You will have to see the pictures to understand, makes sense when you see the pictures. They also used 3 shaft looms with sideways treadles. Made a 1-2 twill that allows the dye pattern to show nicely in the cloth. Their pieces are selling for $236 up to $600 so I won't be bringing any cloth home, can't afford it but I bring the knowlege home to use on my rugs.

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