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.