World renowned, Thai silk speaks for itself. Each piece in the collection is a showcase in artistry and process. Harvesting the silk worm takes one month with a continuous supply of mulberry leaves. Then, artisans extract the silk and dye it, spooling the silk and weaving a scarf with hand-tied tassels. Each Sapahn silk scarf is the product of hundreds of silk worms and a village of artisans. Two hundred artisans strong, each purchase goes to preserving ancient craft, wisdom, and a way of life.
A passionate leader, P’Puy takes great responsibility in ensuring her community is well. She’s just another member in the community, but also a second-generation owner of a large local silk business. Her task is to promote ancient silk traditions in her community while ensuring villages had jobs and a suitable livelihood. P’Puy always wears a smile. She loves silk: the process, the people, and the significance in has on their lives as well as for future generations. She and her colleagues speak about passing down the silk artistry from generation to generation as a privilege.
A collection that takes months to craft and requires great attention to detail.
Cultivating silkworms is most successful in relatively dark cool climates. Silkworm eggs take approximately 15 days to emerge. The worms are then placed on a bamboo tray and fed mulberry leaves three times a day. The silkworm lives for around 28 days before it cultivates a cocoon, which can produce over 300 meters of silk filament in just four days.
Harvesting the cocoons
The silkworm begins to turn a yellow color when it is ready to harvest, at which point it is transferred to another tray. One must keep a close eye on the cocoon. If the moth emerges from the cocoon, the silk cannot be harvested.
A handful of cocoons are placed in boiling water to loosen the sticky residue left from the cocoon. A spatula helps to combine the silk filaments of several cocoons together forming one strand of silk. After it is dried, the silk is ready to be dyed.
Dyeing of the silk
Silk is washed and dried before it is ready to be dyed. Vats are placed over open fires. Temperatures must remain high in order to avoid color fading. Dye comes in basic primary colors making each batch a unique blend of hues. One must have years of experience to blend the right colors. Soaking the silk at varying lengths produces different colors before it is hung to dry.
Spinning of the silk
Using a handcrafted spinning wheel, the silk is then spooled onto bobbins before being wrapped around a frame as part of the weaving loom.
Weaving the silk
Weaving begins by pushing down the harness with one’s feet separating the two sets of thread, leaving an opening in between the thread to shuttle through another piece of thread. When the final product is ready, braiding begins by twisting the ends of the string on one’s leg and tying the end.