Have a look at the Natural Dyeing video about Trudi's trip to Cambodia.
We are so very happy that one of the businesses mentored by The Vocational Arts Mentoring Program called Lady Penh Designs has been chosen by the Ministry of Commerce to attend the Seoul International textile Fair 2011 and the ASEAN Fashion Accessories & Gifts Business Meeting" the 46th Osaka International Gift Show/2011 Autumn. September 25-27, 2011 in Tokyo September 28-30, 2011at Osaka.
What an amazing achievement! This is huge. We also heard on the grapevine that they were chosen as number one out of the 10 business going from Cambodia for their product design and quality - Fabulous!!!
We have now released a range of Hand Woven Cambodian Silk - The Cambodian tradition of weaving silk dates back to Angkor times. The art of hand silk weaving is being revived using wooden looms & hand spinning to create beautiful fine, high quality fabrics.
All fabrics are woven in the natural silk colour so that artists can apply their own design and/or colour processes.
You can purchase from our Etsy Shop or send us an email via the 'Contact us' page on this site.
For Wholesale enquiries please contact us for details.
Silk Organza - $10.00 AUD per metre (approx 90 cm width)
1 ply Silk - $14.00 AUD per metre (approx 80 cm wide)
2 Ply Silk - $16.00 per metre (approx 90cm wide)
Trudi joined Helena and Camilla on their latest trip to Cambodia.
One of the highlights was to do some natural dyeing with our Cambodian friends.
More news to come soon.
Pollard Designs together with Camilla Minge have recently started a textiles and cultural vocational program at an orphanage in Cambodia situated about 45 minutes from Phnom Penh.
We have a passion to assist the Cambodian people to build up their textile knowledge to enable them to become financially independent.
We will be updating this page in the near future with exciting news about the project as it comes to hand. Below are some pictures of a village that weaves silk...
Indigo Dyeing in a Village
Talking with Silk weavers in a village - under there house
This is their house...
More pictures and info to come soon..... in the meantime go to our 'photos tab on this website and you can also read the article below...
The Amazing Survival and Revival of Cambodian Textiles This is an article Helena wrote for WAFTA (Western Australian Fibre and Textiles Association http://www.wafta.com.au/) for their January Newsletter.
Apart from the adrenalin rush we textile lovers get from the adoration, making and purchasing of textiles, I didn’t realise it could be the stuff of such highly charged emotions. I was on a mission in Cambodia that was twofold, one was to help an orphanage an hour out of Phnom Penh get their sewing room operating and another was to find out as much about Cambodian silk as possible. As it turned out, the two had an underlying theme of survival that seemed to go hand in hand. I turned up at the orphanage fully expecting to inspect the ‘new’ sewing machines that had been purchased and do something creative. Somewhere in between unlocking the sewing room door to see 10 ancient peddle ‘Singers’ and being told the whole days electricity allocation for the orphanage would be diverted to use the iron, I was told that we were standing in Pol Pots former hospital. It stopped me in my tracks...for about 30 seconds. I can’t believe how practical I became when faced with the prospect of filling this room with textiles, laughter, achievement and fun! Oh and the iron. It somehow became even more important to make this event happen. These kids had never received a ‘new’ t-shirt before let alone ‘do’ something creative with textiles. So, after much discussion and re-wiring, I put 115 kids through the room in 3 hours because that’s all the electricity time we had! It was amazing!
When you start to unravel the history of a culture in relation to textiles the two cannot be separated easily, if at all. One of the first things that hit me when arriving in Phnom Penh was that I felt so calm and hopeful, much like it’s people. I was relieved, as the textile arts along with most other cultural arts were decimated in Cambodia during the time of the Khmer Rouge which only ceased in 1979. This is the same year I left high school! So, my first year of university was when Cambodia finally had peace even though devastated. Here is one textile statistic to get your Bernina spinning. Due to the neglect of mulberry plantations during nearly 30 years of war and political strife, Cambodia’s golden silk yarn (their most prized) production declined from 1960’s of 150 tons/year to about 6 tons/year today. 100% Khmer golden silk can only be purchased by special order now.
One thing I learned very quickly was that Cambodian silk is still hand woven in homes and there are no mechanical looms used to produce silk. Wow! The tradition of sericulture has been handed down through generations, from Mother to Daughter. However, decades of war severely interrupted this knowledge base and many NGO’s (Non Government Organisations) are trying to revive this art with the help of the older survivors of the past generation. Only recently some pieces were discovered in the basement of the National Museum in Phnom Penh, thought to have been destroyed by years of neglect during war and a flood that devastated the collection. Archaeologists can only trace some textile history via the study of relief work on the statues at Angkor Wat. Most of the historical data has been reclaimed from the French who appreciated and sent much of the textiles to Europe in the 1920’s where it thankfully survived. There is one exemplary example of this dedication by an amazing man called Morimoto Kikuo who went to Cambodia from Japan in the mid 1990’s. He felt a passion to start the Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles and has never left. He started by asking villagers if they knew anyone who used to weave. People started coming forward who were mainly in their 70’s and 80’s and he tells many stories but one is that he believes that the memory of the weaving is in the hands on the people. He means this in a literal sense because there is no written record of many of the motives and designs which have been passed down from one generation to another. Morimoto along with many others believe there is a critical need for Khmer textiles to be revived because a whole generation of knowledge has been lost.
One of the striking things about Cambodia is that you have a sense that everyone is trying to rebuild everything. Textiles is one of the most important cultural aspects of this revival because textiles traditionally held so many symbolic indicators of the Khmer culture. It is also a way for people to connect to their heritage and earn a living at the same time. One of the many peculiarities I found amusing was the fact that there is an ancient tradition of weaving a different colour for each day of the week. This is how it goes: Monday - Dark yellow; Tuesday – Purple; Wednesday – Green; Thursday – Light green ; Friday - Dark Blue; Saturday - Dark Red ; Sunday – Red. I’m hoping the kids in the orphanage will one day know which colour applies to which day and perhaps they can apply this textile knowledge to adding colour to their own lives and future.
For more information on Khmer Textiles please visit the following web sites and promise yourself to watch the following video on Morimoto Kikuo at: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/rough/2007/06/cambodia_the_si.html
Book: Pictorial Cambodian Textiles: Traditional Celebratory Hangings. Green Gillian. ISBN 9748225399