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The Sawangboran Project – Slow Silk For Sustainability
Ours is slow silk, quality unadulterated by modern tricks to increase quantity or productivity. We do not get dye-plants to mature faster, nor do we use scientifically ‘optimised’ silkworm varieties. Our traditional manual tools and processes are slow. Really natural dyeing cannot be rushed. Neither should the artisans’ working hours – ours are gentle to family needs, to personal well-being, and adapt to farming seasons.
Honest quality and creativity demand slow time. We like it this way. This makes our silks far more beautiful, healthy and durable for you than mainstream silk. Slow processes, in tune with the pace of Nature, promote what is now touted as ‘sustainability’. For us sustainability is multi-faceted.
Economic sustainability – authentic silk-making can, and must, be a sustainable source of real income for the artisans. And for them to have a sustainable market, we price our products for the middle-income rather than the high-end of the market.
Cultural sustainability – the skills, knowledge and art of Isan silk-weavers is a precious cultural treasure that can, and must, thrive again in the post-modern world. Now is the time to act before the young lose the living meanings of a tradition, and this requires some creative reinvention of meanings rather than just ‘preservation’. Gender also has a cultural chance and duty here – local men have deep respect for their weaving females, whose self-worth is also enhanced by their substantial income contribution, and beyond the village woven creations of a local tradition can speak a powerful language to many other people.
Environmental sustainability – unlike modern silk production that uses energy, chemicals, high tech ‘improvements’ (and often appalling labour conditions), our traditional silk-work is organic and non-polluting, propagates local silkworm varieties, and uses very little water and energy. Natural dyes demand, and thus help, environmental replenishment as well as biodiversity. They also prefer non-polluted water, so the weavers must nurture our semi-arid area’s pure water supplies.
We see high addition of value, cultural revival and beneficial environmental effects, as a win-win combination.