Tuesday, April 6, 2010


That day, on a lark, I decided to visit a nearby village known for its woven wares, a community where this legacy was passed from one generation to the next. After the short boat ride, I was on the small island. I remember the feel of the scorching sun on my forehead. I had forgotten to bring a hat, again, and I wondered how long my heavy-duty sunscreen would hold up.

I immediately found myself wandering past homes and backyards, among open grassy fields upon which stilted wood-framed houses perched and livestock grazed freely.

After some time spent tracing the circumference of the island along its only dirt road, I wandered past her backyard. Seeing me, she slowly pried open the wooden gate that demarcated her property, inviting me in for a cup of water. I accepted. With hands trembling, she showed me her loom, her work, the silk cloths she created in striking hues and prints. The cloths were mottled a bit, the threads hanging loose on some parts and forcibly jutting out on others, but, as a result of these imperfections, they appeared even more beautiful to me, more arresting.

I decided on an ikat print for 60,000 kip. I still have the cloth and have been toying with the idea of making it into something wearable, like a skirt. When I was last in Portland, I talked to seamstress-extraorindaire Lindsay about possibilities. I remain unsure. It seems a shame to cut it up.


  1. How incredible! I absolutely adore ikat prints. I fear I'd buy so many I'd have to take a second suitcase home... xo katie

  2. The cloth becomes all the more precious when you know the hands that created it. Her face touched my heart.

  3. What an awesome experience! I can't imagine how cool it would be to own a piece of usable, beautiful art- and you got to meet the artist!

  4. Katie: I know! The ikat I brought home is the black,violet,green one in the corner.

    Yoli: And, her hands moved me.

    Lar: I just don't know if I can have Lindsay cut it up, but wearable art would be a better use for it.

  5. It must have been amazing to see that. Totally fascinating.

  6. Thanks, Jennifer. The people in the village were lovely.


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