Meet Phaeng! Phaeng is from a small village of 70 houses, nestled in the bend of the Namkhan River, just outside of Luang Prabang. We have been collaborating with Phaeng for over 4 years. She is one of many in the village who has woven bamboo since childhood.
Buddhism and the crafts go hand-in-hand in Luang Prabang. Just walk down the main street and you will see detailed carvings adorn the temple doors, cut glass murals and gold stencils densely fill columns, walls and ceilings. The Buddhist Heritage Project supports and encourages initiatives of the Buddhist community in the fields of education, preservation of its cultural, religious and historical heritage, and on-site environment management. One of their latest endeavour, is a conversion of disused class rooms in Vat Sop, at end of the main street, to train novices in wood carving. Ma Té Sai will support by selling the outcome of their learnings in our store, and work with them on custom orders. We can thank Covid19 in part for this collaboration as the two friends, and directors of each organisation have been unusually sedentary in Luang Prabang and collaborating in product development.
In Luang Prabang, just before the town goes crazy with Christmas vacationeers, there is the Hmong New Year festival. This year the Hmong Association bought a large piece of land on the outskirts of town, so now the festival has a permanent home. And this year was my first visit to the festival, or what is known as "raising the mountain". This is the fun after the 3 days of new year celebration within the house, where there are family meals honouring parents and in-laws, cleansing rituals, souls are released and offerings are made to the God of Wealth, amongst...
Bai Leehas been making products and teaching embroidery classes with Ma Té Sai for four years now. These classes help supplement income for the family. Extended families live together and relatives often visit those living in town, so there are always many mouths to feed. She started sewing when she was about four years old.