If you want to learn everything about the Lao art of weaving, Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang has a mission to develop and preserve traditional textile work and methods in order to contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage and to promote Lao textiles abroad.
What to experience ?
Ock Pop Tok, ‘East Meets West’, is the innovative creation of two local women with a passion for weaving and a vision for showcasing and selling Lao’s textiles to the world. Fusing the best of western and traditional Lao design and techniques, their weaving centre in Luang Prabang produces some of the finest silk textiles in the country. Visitors to the centre can take a guided tour to observe the local artisans at work transforming raw silk into finished textiles and can even provide their own designs for the artisans to weave.
After the tour, peruse the gallery for any textile you may wish to purchase and enjoy lunch or coffee in the centre’s café on the banks of the Mekong River. Ock Pop Tok also offers a “hands on” experience with their artisans (ranging from half a day to a week) in the crafts of weaving, natural dyes, spinning, bamboo weaving, ikat technique and batik-making. You will sleep in homestays in the weaving villages.
To complement its workshop the founders established the non-profit textile gallery “Fibre2Fabric” in the old quarter of Luang Prabang. The gallery hosts three exhibitions of handcrafted textiles a year to promote the art of weaving and its cultural significance to the Lao people.
How does it help ?
Ock Pop Tok has a mission to promote Laos and its textiles internationally through exhibitions, training programmes and the development of a sustainable business that directly benefits local artisans and their families. The centre employs some 30 full-time staff and works directly with over 150 women from seven rural villages comprising a variety of ethnic groups throughout the provinces of northern Laos.
They set up the Village Weaver Projects and by supporting the Council for the Village Weavers Projects, populations are guided in more sustainable resource usage along with key marketing strategies which in turn results in improved working conditions, enhanced well-being in the host communities and access to formidable industry avenues.
The business adheres to fair and sustainable trade principles by providing its artisans with guidance and training in product development, a secure and expanding market and a fair price for their textiles that is significantly higher than that usually offered in rural markets. A percentage of revenue is channelled back into training and support for artisans.
By purchasing products from the Ock Pop Tok gallery or participating in its tours and weaving classes you will be making a direct contribution to the welfare of rural women artisans and the preservation of Lao’s weaving culture.
2007 Innovative Textile, Lao Handicraft Association
Fair Trade Certification with IFAT is under process
Ock Pop Tock: Ban Saylom, 2 kilometres from the town