Lao Textile Artisan Culture in the Built Environment - A research project in progress.
"Textiles weave indigenous cultures together; thus they provide strands of meaning and action which can be picked up by observers to understand cultures and assist them in coping with pressures of modern life." (H. Leerdom Lefferts Jr.)
This project involves gaining an understanding of ways to work towards improving artisans' livelihoods & conditions in less-developed nations. How artisan living/working arrangements in Laos can inform ways to preserve culture & minimize the impact imposed by development is of primary focus.
"If you were to ask me why I became a weaver I would say it is more than my work - it is my family tradition, my cultural tradition. I want you to feel the rhythm of the weaving, the spirit of the textile. I want to share it, it is my way of life." (Veomanee, Ock Pop Tok)
Weavers of Xieng Yeun Village expressed a desire to get visitors from a near by tourist center visit their village. As a step towards implementing goals of this project I held a sign painting workshop so the young could learn to help themselves.
"...Textiles are constructed in a social context. A loom is only an implement; the loom, the material for weaving & the weaver exist & operate in a social space. The loom, weaving & the power of women cannot be removed from that context & still have the power & the prestige they used to have." (H. Leerdom Lefferts Jr.)