I've just returned from the beautiful Laos, the best description for this gorgeous country, its friendly people, amazing architecture and stunning temples is .... lovely.
Everyone that visits here for the first time is always amazed at just how different it is from other countries in South East Asia. From the lack of traffic to the ease of bargaining and the genuine kindness of its people, Laos is definitely a place to see before the rest of the world discovers this tranquil oasis.
HOUEY HONG WEAVING CENTRE
We also spent a morning at the fabulous Houey Hong Weaving Centre. I first visited the centre back in 2007 and am pleased to report that 10 years on they are still going strong and offering more fantastic classes and producing some of the most beautiful weaving you will see in all of Lao. Established to provide various skill levels, in weaving, dyeing and tailoring for women from rural areas who are disadvantaged, poor and/or who have a disability the centre is also an important player in the revival of Lao’s traditional crafts, such as natural dyeing and traditional weaving.
We took the half day natural dyes class which focusses on using shibori dyeing techniques which was great fun. I look forward to going back again and trying out some of its other classes on offer!
From clan to clan and village to village the style and colour of Vietnams ethnic minority groups showcase a vibrant and fascinating culture of textile traditions. One of the largest and most diverse of these groups is that of the Hmong. From the sedate indigo garb of the Black Hmong of Sapa to the explosive colour of the Flower Hmong around Lao Cai each has adopted a unique costume and identity. Here are just some of the beautiful Hmong I've encountered on my travels through Northern Vietnam.
if you are in Sapa around the New Year you can see the Black Hmong from around the district celebrate the Spring Festival - where thousands gather in their full traditional costume for a day of traditional games and rituals. Whilst most women wear their tradtional clothing all the time - this festival is an opportunity to also see the men and boys all decked out.
I started running my textile focussed tours back in 2007. Over the years I've seen some of the most gorgeous textiles made by the most gorgeous women. This blog is a reflection on some of these