Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lao Textile Launch

We had a great turn out for the launch of "Weaving Dreams and Aspirations: Lao Textiles" on Saturday 8 August 2009. The exhibition is curated by Valerie Kirk, a tapestry weaver and Head of Textiles at the Australian National University School of Art, and aims to highlight the rich textile traditions of Laos. It was great to see so many familiar faces from the regional textiles community in attendance.

Our guest speaker was Boby Vosinthavong, who operates the fair trade business, Lao Silk & Craft and is the Australian representative for the Lao Sericulture and Phontong / Camacrafts Handicrafts Cooperative (aka 'Mulberries'). Mulberries is a not for profit company established by Boby's mother, Kommaly Chanthavong, that seeks to create income generating opportunities for Lao people in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner. In her talk, Boby explained how Mulberries manages the process of creating high quality silk products from the growing of silk cocoons, the dying with natural materials and the painstaking task of weaving. Boby demonstrated the first stage of the production of silk - the reeling of raw silk from cocoons. It was great to welcome Boby and her family to Ararat to share the unique Mulberries story and to provide a context for appreciating the exquisite work in the exhibition.