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Very little is wasted in the process of silk production. Scraps of chewed-up leaves and worm excrement are used as natural fertilizer, and some people even turn the worm excrement into a healthful chlorophyll drink. Once the silk is extracted, the…

This man from Baan Tampoung Village displays a bamboo gra dong (กระด้ง) basket that he made himself. While men only started weaving recently due to the expanding market for silk, certain tools and materials used in weaving and silk…

The process of natural dyeing has not remained entirely “natural” due to the helpful properties of certain modern chemicals. Bleach is used regularly to remove the natural yellow color of raw silk. Alum, a chemical compound which does occur…

A bas-relief carving of Apsaras at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

A bas-relief carving of Apsaras at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Though the act of weaving is considered to be a skill learned only by females, males are involved in related tasks, such as the construction of looms. A husband or a father might build a loom for the women in his family to use, often decorating it…

Boxes of chemical dye and skeins of chemically dyed thread are sold in shops across Surin. Color names are evocative and often food-themed; examples include “shrimp paste,” “ovaltine,” “pig’s blood,” “duck’s head green,”…

After cocoons are gathered from their branches or baskets, they sit for two days before the silk is extracted. Some cocoons may be separated at this stage so that the moths can emerge, mate, and lay eggs that will become the next generation of…