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Ban Saleuy Ikat Sin Fabric
Ban Saleuy is a very interesting village one should stop in if driving between Sam Neua and Phonsavan. Itís about an hour drive southwest of Sam Neua on the main road. We can remember the first time we were driving through Ban Saleuy and the bright multi-colored ikat yarn hanging out to dry or being spun caught our eyes, really inviting anyone passing through to stop and witness the magic of silk and cotton being dyed and woven into fabric used primarily for making sins. Almost any time of the year there will be all sorts of weaving activity one can see, from actual weaving at the loom, to the tying and dyeing of the ikat yarn which is hung out to dry on poles like lanterns in the fog (hard to miss), spinning the yarn into big skeins and then onto the bobbins which will be placed in the shuttles when weaving. The main road probably winds through the village for about a mile and weavers, singly or in groups, outside and inside homes, can be seen. Itís fun to park at one end and leisurely walk through the village and your driver can meet you at the other end of the village.
The village is unique because in this village they are all Lao Phong, an Austro-Asiatic ethnic group with a total population of about 20,000 in Laos. There are only several villages in Huaphan Province and they are all very friendly and donít mind visitors politely taking photos and watching them at work.
Most of the sinh fabric they weave is a mixture of cotton and silk. The warp threads will be cotton or silk and the weft mattmii will be silk. Consequently the fabric is slightly thicker and the combination of silk and cotton is warmer than straight silk or cotton. Which is a good thing because it can get quite cold during the months of December and January. Some fabric is all silk and some fabric is all cotton, but here at Laos Essential Artistry we carry mostly fabric that is a mixture of cotton and silk and some lengths of all silk fabric.
If you read the description in our sinh section you will see that the main part of the sinh is called the pheun and the weavers in Ban Saleuy will weave bolts of fabric that are up to twenty pheuns in length. And if you see fabric you like, they will remove the rolling cloth beam from the loom and unwind the length of fabric you want (measured in pheuns) and cut it off the loom. And thatís how we have purchased the fabric that we are selling here at Laos Essential Artistry, straight from the loom. Some of the fabric we offer is in long lengths and of course can be used in any number of ways, just not for sinhs.