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Why Mulberries is special ?
Among other things, the province of Xieng Khouang has always been synonymous with fine Laotian silk, the tradition of which dates back for centuries. Mulberries Organic Silk Farm, in the Phonsavan District of Xieng Khouang Province, is an establishment that aims to promote silk production as a way to generate income to families in surrounding areas while preserving the vanishing art of Laotian weaving.
This non-profit company, certified both by Fairtrade and Lao Organic Department, grows their own chemical-free mulberry trees. Mulberry leaves are the staple diet of silk worms, which are raised here for four months, after which their silk cocoon is collected and reeled. The dyeing process that follows makes use of indigenous plants (such as indigo, jackfruit, and tamarind), which produce deep and rich colours.
Once the thread is spun, it is given to village women who take them home to weave in their spare time. The silk farm then buys back the finished products to sell in their gift shops here and in Vientiane. Prior to that, the women attend workshops and learn how to make and use natural dyes, and the complex art of incorporating traditional designs into their creations.
What to explore at Mulberries?
Visitors can view all the silk making process right here in the house. There are guided tours in English. If you are lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse of Miss Kommaly, who will tell you how she started this environmental-friendly cooperative 20 years ago. Her tireless work to empower local women and ethnic minority groups by raising their incomes through weaving earned her the 2005 nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mulberries gift shop features beautiful plain silk scarves in a variety of rich colours, patterned throws and cushion covers and fabrics by the metre. Some patterns and home furnishing fabrics can be ordered.
Source: Source: http://www.visit-mekong.com/
How to get to Mulberries?
Mulberries Silk Farm in Xieng Khouang Province can be reached by plane from Vientiane. Lao Airlines operates three flights a week from Vientiane to Xieng Khouang. There is also a bus service from Vientiane that takes about 10 hours. If you can’t travel to Xieng Khouang, there is a Mulberries shop in Vientiane selling the same products.
Source: Source: http://www.visit-mekong.com/
- “Very pleasant interlude in Laos”
- “Good for a browse”
- “Only organic & fair trade silk in Laos"
- “Lovely place with lovely people”
- “Silk Farm in Phonsavan”
Duang Deune Hotel
Tips for you
We have spent 5 days working with Mulberries in order to realize a video about their project.The farm is organic & fair trade certified, they produce high quality silk and side products like silk protein packed cosmetics.We had time to really get to know the people by staying there a few days, learn Miss Kommaly's story, how she started the farm 20 years ago, how she developped it and how they now work with more than 3000 villager of rural Laos.We also saw quite a few visitors coming to the farm during our shooting there, all looked very interested by the tour, most of them left with a silk scarf from the gift shop because these scarves are just too beautifull to miss out on them.Enough talks, here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5TqnlZgY3I
Because we had the Mulberry green tea with our breakfast in Phonsavan we went to the farm a little out of town. The manager welcomed us with open arms and arranged a little tour through the farm. Our tourguide came right out the field and explaned us everything. He apologised for his English but he did a great job. We were really amazed by the way the make the silk. During our trip we visited 2 other silk factory's but this one was by far the most special one. After our tour we talked with the manager (who was nominated for the Nobel price in 2005) and drank a cup of tea.Don't hesitate to go, it's really worth it!
Located just out of Phonsavan, the Mulberries Organic Silk Farm is a 45 hectare property dedicated to the revival and survival of all aspects of Lao silk production. Established in 1993, Mulberries’ mission is to “create income generating opportunities for Lao people in a socially and environmentally responsible manner”They have 17 of the 45 hectares under mulberry trees which are used to provide breakfast, lunch & dinner for the silkworms bred and grown on the farm. Specially built temperature controlled buildings house all stages of the silk process.A large garden provides the raw materials for all thread and fabric dyeing. Plants including indigo and tamarind are cultivated close to the dye rooms. In excess of 80 different colours can be produced using natural dyes.Silk is grown, reeled, spun and woven at the farm as women from all over Laos develop skills which they can then take back to their villages and utilise to generate an income.The weaving room allows visitors to view women making a number of silk items including scarves, table runners as well as fabric by the metre. At the time of my visit, a number of commission pieces were being produced.Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the farm and buildings with friendly English speaking staff before the opportunity to purchase a variety of stunning silk items from the small shop.For anyone with an interest in yarn or fabric, this is a most worthwhile place to visit.
We have spent 5 days working with Mulberries in order to realize a video about their project. The farm is organic & fair trade certified, they produce high quality silk and side products like silk protein packed cosmetics. We had time to really get to know the people by staying there a few days, learn Miss Kommaly's story, how she started the farm 20 years ago, how she developped it and how they now work with more than 3000 villager of rural Laos. We also saw quite a few visitors coming to the farm during our shooting there, all looked very interested by the tour, most of them left with a silk scarf from the gift shop because these scarves are just too beautifull to miss out on them. Enough talks, here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5TqnlZgY3I