On a recent trip to South-East Asia I had the opportunity to participate in a natural dyeing & weaving workshop at Ock Pop Tok in Laos.
Ock Pop Tok is a textile, handicraft and design centre in Luang Prabang. The studio is situated on the banks of the Mekong and is a welcome escape from the hectic surroundings of the city. If you’re in Laos and have any interest in textiles, it’s a must visit!
I spent half a day in the dye studio discovering all the wonderful colours you can obtain from natural materials. We had the opportunity to work with a master dyer who shared her decades of knowledge with us. The open kitchen was full of bubbling pots of delicious colours and smells. Some of the skeins I dyed can be seen in the photo above. These colours were obtained from boiling up lemongrass, turmeric and beetroot. The green was achieved by soaking the lemongrass dyed skein in indigo afterwards.
The rest of the day was spent getting reacquainted with the loom. It really was like a bike, once I got back on it all made sense again. I bought home my own little woven place mat from one afternoon of weaving. It sure does save a lot of time when someone else sets up the loom for you 🙂
Ock Pop Tok was definitely one of the major highlights for me in Laos. Next time we go back I’ll be making the effort to stay there. They have a wonderful shop where you can buy original pieces from local artisans. Plus the cooking is phenomenal and a great place to indulge in Laotian cuisine. The place oozes creativity and really is the ideal place to immerse yourself in a love of all things textiles.
More information about Ock Pop Tok can be found here