Tags / shadows on silk
Isaan, Thailand. The dry season stretches far beyond what’s normal. In hope for rain men head to the fields to prepare them for sowing. Women wait at home.
Isaan, Thailand. Houses around Surin in Thailand were once a hub of cottage silk production. A housewife was taking care of each step, from rearing worms to weaving.
Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa chats with her aunt about global warming. This is a really “hot” topic in the village nowadays. Both women once used to rear silkworms.
Isaan, Thailand. A woman shows off her sericulture. Traditionally, the threshing floor is wetted to keep the temperature down. Modern appliances like AC had been installed to fight the rising temperatures.
Isaan, Thailand. Housewife showing the silkworms while covering the basket with mulberry leaves to feed them. The worms here are about a week away from spinning their cocoons.
Isaan, Thailand. As silkworms feed only on the fresh leaves, some are growing them as a side business. With caterpillars eating 3 times a day, this bag won’t last for long.
Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa’s neighbor, age 77, sits next to the cocoons she cultivated herself. Her eyesight is not so good anymore so she recently had to stop weaving.
Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa buys the cocoons to show me the process of extracting the thread. It needs to be done before silkworms get out as they would damage the fiber.
Isaan, Thailand. Cocoons are boiled to ease the silk threads out. Pimnipa squints in the acrid smoke from her small wood-burning stove while performing the process.
Isaan, Thailand. It is a sad and short life for a silk worm but nothing goes to waste in this Thai village. Despite the irritating fumes and fierce heat that day, Pimnipa have finished in time to serve the boiled silkworms for breakfast.
Isaan, Thailand. This housewife specializes in dyeing patterns on the weft yarn. Once, each weaver was doing it herself, now it’s easier to buy the processed material.
Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa’s aunt with her granddaughter. Even though the girl has been put to sleep by the lullabies of the clattering loom, in reality she’s unlikely to learn the craft.
Isaan, Thailand. Weaving was once a skill passed from mothers to daughters. While kids are still keen on observing their mothers at work, teenagers know better pastimes.
Isaan, Thailand. The silk is being cut off the loom after one week of weaving. Women laugh as Pimnipa had picked the fabric that she wants to buy from her aunt.
Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa’s daughter, Joy, is folding the silk. A piece is about 2 meters long and this intricate pattern is unique to their village. Sadly, Joy will never learn it.
Isaan, Thailand. We find a household where the whole family is actively involved in reeling, dyeing and weaving. They found a distributor who comes to collect the fabric.
Isaan, Thailand. A portrait of one of those rare families where children are actively helping with the silk making process. The daughter prepares the yarn before dyeing the pattern.
Isaan, Thailand. In this household even the son weaves. When he's older he wants to take care of the family business as he's seen that they can make a living from it. That’s a ray of hope for the industry but his interests may change with time.
Isaan, Thailand. While most of the silk artisans struggle to find clientele, the silk factory in Ban Thasawang weaves for the elites. Prices here are so high that are revealed only to serious buyers. This is the charming part of the complex.
Isaan, Thailand. Across the road, the other part of the factory in Ban Thasawang falls into ruin. This raises a question if the business here is indeed as profitable as advertised.
Isaan, Thailand. Ban Thasavang Silk Village. The process of weaving requires here four to five people working together on one piece of fabric. One person always sits below the ground.
Isaan, Thailand. Ban Thasawang Silk Village. Immersed in semidarkness, staring blankly ahead. This weaver’s figure is perhaps the best metaphor for the state of the nation's homegrown industry.