Meet the Weavers
Having learnt weaving at the young age of 10 by observing her mother, Phonesouk now is a Master Weaver and loves weaving the supplementary Chok technique.
She loves that she is able to preserve a piece of the Lao culture by weaving and selling her products especially for a company like Ock Pop Tok, where “we are provided with great working conditions, the company pays us in pieces every few weeks, we get food for lunch services, healthcare, bonuses and other policies” which benefits her and her family.
She hopes that Lao weaving will forever be taught and passed down for generations because “it’s the face of Lao culture.”Ms. Phonesouk
Learning to weave at 20 years old, later than most, Mrs. Ting taught herself by observing friends.
Prayer flags representing the stairs to heaven in traditional beliefs and diamond motifs are her favourite.
Whether she’s teaching a class or weaving on her own, she says she learned a lot from her experiences at Ock Pop Tok and especially loves the women and community here.
She believes Lao people are the best in the world at weaving and even though she has four boys, she will continue to weave to earn a steady income for her family and to teach the next generations. She says that she “would love to keep Lao weaving alive.”Mrs. Ting
Born is Luang Prabang, Mrs. Sykai says she is proud of the title “Master Weaver” and the ability to show visitors her skills. A dedicated weaver, she is inspired by creating new designs and incorporating old motifs into contemporary patterns. Alongside Ms. Lear, head of design and production, Liew created our award-winning organza wall hanging. She enjoys being able to tell guests about Lao weaving and the story of her family, her mother, Phaeng is also a Master Weaver here at Ock Pop Tok.
She hopes that textiles will continue to improve for future generations, “We need to teach our children,” she says, including her own two, “We have to keep it alive.”Mrs. Sykai
Ms. Daphone started working at Ock Pop Tok as one of the first weavers, in 2002. Originally starting off as a cotton weaver she then quickly learnt silk weaving as well.
She loves Ikat techniques and the entire Chok collection. She especially likes to weave the Naga (serpent) motif “because it’s the main focus of my prayer flag”.
She values that Ock Pop Tok provides her with a good income and with that she is able to support her family.Mrs. Daphone
As one of the first original master weavers at Ock Pop Tok, Phaeng likes to stick to the basic weaves and colors, she jokes and says that “she is getting too old to remember the complicated designs, but I still love weaving”.
Working in a company like Ock Pop Tok has given Phaeng the ability to earn enough for her family, and has even employed her daughter, Ms. Sykai, who is now also a master weaver here.
Phaeng is very grateful that she is able to work in a team with many women who help and support each other, all while keeping the traditions of Lao textiles alive.Ms. Phaeng
Ms. Manichan, known by her nickname, Nang, learned weaving at a young age. Like many of her fellow weavers, she loves weaving the discontinued supplementary techniques as well as the organza wall hanging because it’s “truly unique to Ock Pop Tok”.
She loves that she can work for a company that provides her with access to a great community of weavers, as well as the many benefits it means for her family back home. She loves that textiles tell a story and can be handed down simply by teaching someone. She believes that weaving is truly the symbol of Laos and hopes the tradition will live on forever.Ms. Manichan
Just at 14 years old Ms. Vilaiphone, known as Tor, was already weaving simple scarfs and beginning to learn how to weave the traditional Lao Sinh. A few years later she was weaving more complicated patterns.
Today, Tor loves weaving the discontinued supplementary weft, in any color. She also particularly likes weaving the Naga and Diamond motifs, because it is the traditional design passed down from mother to daughter.
She enjoys sharing and exchanging skills with the other weavers at Ock Pop Tok, and appreciates that the company has provided a great platform for this. She wants to teach her children how to weave once they are old enough because “she loves weaving and wants to keep the tradition alive.”Ms. Vilaiphone
Comparatively late to some of our other Master Weavers, Chan only learnt how to weave basic patterns and motifs at 18. She quickly got the hang of it and now loves the indigo blue and weaving the Naga pattern “because it’s the traditional symbol of protection and many customers appreciate this motif.”
Through the work at Ock Pop Tok Chan is able to constantly improve her weaving and time management. She says it’s helpful to work with the other weavers when we have new orders and designs that come in. She likes that the work has given her a structure to her weaving, as the production team assigns them schedules, product deadlines and also custom orders for designers. As a mother of four, she hopes to teach her children how to weave one day, as it’s the best way of keeping the history and culture alive.Mrs. Bouachan
Having already mastered most of the traditional designs at 16, Phan loves the continuous supplementary weft in traditional colors, as she “doesn’t really like the bright colors too much” – but that’s good, because here at Ock Pop Tok we have a varied selection of products and enough to split the production between the weavers!
She loves working at Ock Pop Tok because the weavers can exchange many techniques and traditions from their provinces and villages.
She hopes that in the future hand-made products will continue to sell overseas, and that Lao textiles will become famous across the world.Ms. Bouphan
Ms. Khamchan grew up weaving with her sisters and mother. She loves weaving the supplementary “Chok” technique, especially with the colors blue, black, yellow and pink.
She specifically loves the Organza wall hanging.
She appreciates Ock Pop Tok because, not only has it given her a chance to improve her weaving, but the company policies and standards allow her to support her family. For the future she wishes to learn more about different ethnic groups in Lao to incorporate more varied designs!Ms. Khamchan
Much like many of the other Master Weavers here at Ock Pop Tok, Mrs. Jone learned weaving at the age of ten and started mastering patterns at the age of twelve.
Her favourite by far is the Chok weaving technique because the design looks so interesting. She loves working together with the other Master Weavers as the work environment is always fun. Everyone helps each other if there are any problems or struggles.
Ms. Jone says that she really loves her home country. She believes that textiles are a true symbol of Laos and hopes that “the promotion of textiles to the global market will draw more people here.”Mrs. Jone
Like many of the master weavers, Ms. Noot observed her mother weaving for many years and began to weave by herself at 12 years old.
She is very proud that she is able to afford a living for herself and her family through weaving. Textiles is something that she always loved. She likes collaborating with different customers and designers to create new patterns and colors to weave as it keeps things interesting and challenging!Ms. Noot
Like many of the other Ock Pop Tok weavers, Ms. Kesone learnt how to weave at the young age of 7 by observing her mother do it at home. Her favourite weaving technique is tapestry work but she also really enjoys the Chock method. She calls the other Master Weavers her “second family” as they are very close and help each other as soon as someone needs support. She hopes with her weaving that she can educate and help guests understand the effort and time it takes with the pieces and why the prices are a bit higher for truly Fair Trade products. She plans to pass down her weaving to her daughter. She hopes that Laos will continue to be famous for textiles, so that tourists can come here and support their craft.Ms. Kesone
With her mother as a weaver, Ms. Bousavard, or known by her nickname, Vard, learnt weaving at a young age. She loves many different weaving techniques and colors as it continues to challenge her to try new patterns and techniques.
She enjoys Ock Pop Tok because “many of the weavers have great skills that we can learn from and exchange with each other.”
She has two children. Vard believes Laos will pick up in tourism in the next few years and she hopes that the culture of textiles will also become more famous as a result.Ms. Bousavard
Having started in 2003 first as an Ikat Shawl Weaver, Ms. Phet is another long-term veteran here at Ock Pop Tok. Since 2014 she has taken on the role of Head Dyer.
She loves the intense color of red achieved when dyeing with the Sappan Tree root.
When Phet isn’t leading her dyeing team she enjoys weaving at home and to make scarfs and shawls. She also likes cooking up a hearty Luang Prabang stew with her family and friends.Ms. Phet (Head Dyer)
Growing up in a weaving family, Mrs. Vanthong learned to weave at age thirteen.
She says the best part of her job is working with a group of women toward the goal of keeping Lao textiles alive. She values the opportunity to exchange and share ideas, experiences and traditions among the weavers at Ock Pop Tok.
“I hope that Ock Pop Tok will be one organization that keeps supporting Laos handicrafts forever,” she says. “Because the textiles of Laos are truly unique.”Mrs. Vanthong
Learning to weave at a young age, Mrs. Mina was already able to set up a loom (a complicated skill) by the age of fifteen.
Teamwork and unity are important values that she finds in her work at Ock Pop Tok. Her favourite weaving technique is the supplementary or “chok” that uses many colours of silk. She loves that she can share and exchange skills and techniques with the other weavers. She especially likes being able to work in such a space together with them.
Her hope for the future is that weaving will be seen as an important part of Lao history. “We shouldn’t allow it to disappear.”Mrs. Mina
Mrs. Faa learnt how to weave from her mother when she was 10 in Luang Prabang. At the time she was told she could not get married otherwise! Although it took her over a year to memorize some of the techniques, she now loves it particularly the discontinued supplementary weft “Chok”. Her favorite color is red as it’s unique to Laos. She loves that Ock Pop Tok supports the many Villages around Laos through the Village Weaver Projects. She finds it a great location sitting by the Mekong and that the job offers her flexible hours so that she can pick up her kids from school. She wants to teach her two children how to weave when they are old enough and is “expecting Laos to become a famous tourist country in Asia in the next years” and hopes that textiles will stay with famous in Laos.Mrs. Faa
Mrs. Vannaly fell in love with weaving before her feet could even reach the floor pedals by watching her mother. Her favourite materials to work with are those with natural dyes as well as the traditional motifs in the wall hangings. From beautiful scarves to intricate wall hangings to home decor, she hopes that visitors appreciate the outstanding skill of the weavers and that Lao textiles become better known worldwide. She values working for Ock Pop Tok because of the flexible hours, access to the health care and benefits. “Lao women are very strong ladies,” she says. “And weaving represents the Lao culture and we should keep it alive for the next generations.”Mrs. Vannaly
From the different colours of silk to the “outstanding and very impressive” patterns, Mrs. Panee likes to show visitors the supplementary technique called “chok”.
Having learned to weave when she was only 9 years old, she hopes the tradition will continue. Mrs. Panee appreciates learning from the other women all working at Ock Pop Tok and exchanging skills. Through the work she is able to support her family and two children.
She wants people especially future generations, to know how important weaving is to her culture. “Lao women have woven incredible textiles in the past and we need to keep this tradition alive,” she says.Mrs. Panee
Coming from a weaving family in the Huaphan province, Daolika learnt how to weave very early at 8 years old by observing her mother at home. She loves that at Ock Pop Tok she’s given different projects to work on, but prefers the Chok technique because of the complexity of the design. She enjoys the company of all the Master Weavers who work here, as they can exchange ideas and help each other, which enables her to learn more – she hopes that Laos will be famous for textiles in the future to and plans to teach her daughter how to weave if she has one, “because the weaving is a beautiful tradition that should be kept alive for the next generation.” If she’s not weaving, you’ll find Dailika singing and finding new music or writing poetry.Ms. Daolika
Originally coming from a small village in Houaphan province in Northern Laos — known for intricate weaving styles — Ms. Vaa learned to weave from her mother at 10 years old.
She wants visitors to know how beautiful her country’s landscapes are and importance of its historic sites, culture and traditions — and, of course, the handicrafts and textiles.
“These traditions have been passed down for hundreds of years.”Mrs. Vaa
A mother of five boys, Ms. Kiang loves to travel and represent Ock Pop Tok abroad.
Her favourites are the colour blue, the King Naga motif and masterpieces, such as the wedding blanket, one of the most important pieces to Lao women in the past.
She believes the best thing about working here is that ability to make visitors happy and help them love Lao textiles too.
“I love working as a team because we can share the ideas, experiences and skills.”Mrs. Kiang
A great weaver, Ms. Ting is also the life and soul of the party.
She fell in love with weaving before she was even tall enough to do it on her own. She finds working at Ock Pop Tok has impacted her family in very positive ways, including providing many benefits and flexibility.
She hopes visitors see the excellent abilities behind her and all Lao women’s work.
“Weaving is an art work and very complicated,” she says.Mrs. Meng