Profile of: Angkor Silk Farm, Cambodia
Words & photos by Emily Lush
Known throughout the world for its boutique souvenirs, Artisans Angkor is a champion of traditional Khmer arts and crafts. Founded in 1992 through a partnership between a European NGO and Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Artisans operates vocational centres across the country that teach various skills, including woodwork and loom weaving. In Puok district, about 30 minutes from downtown Siem Reap in Western Cambodia, the Angkor Silk Farm is the only Artisans Angkor workshop open to the public. It employs more than 400 people in all stages of golden silk production, from mulberry leaf to finished textile.
The property includes several hectares of lush gardens that are dedicated to rearing rare and endemic medicinal and dyeing plants. A free guided tour of the Farm begins in the mulberry garden, where several endemic varietals are cultivated. Golden silkworms are housed nearby inside traditional Cambodian houses, protected from insects by concrete moats that run around the structures’ wooden stilts. The tour takes you through demonstrations of the different stages of silk extraction and spinning, which occurs at the Farm on a massive scale, and ends with a look at the weaving workshop. Artisans here are divided by skill group, with some focusing on spinning and others on dyeing and loom weaving. Artisans Angkor offers free guided tours of the Angkor Silk Farm daily, with the first tour departing at 8 am. There is also a gift shop, which sells a variety of textiles made on the property. View the full article on Wander-Lush.