Textiles of Laos & Cambodia: Traditions and Transitions – New TSA Study Tour
Textile artisans throughout the world face challenges in honoring their rich cultural traditions while also engaging with new domestic and international markets. In Laos and Cambodia we will have the unique opportunity to see the old and the new and to engage with artisan organizations that are achieving balance between the two.
In this small-group tour, specially organized for the Textile Society of America, we spend ten days exploring the vibrant textile traditions of Laos and Cambodia in cultural context—past and present. In Luang Prabang, Laos, a UNESCO World Heritage city, we visit workshops, museums, and retail venues where we examine Laos’ exquisite weaving of the past and discover creative transitions for contemporary markets. In a hands-on workshop, participants will learn from several of Laos’ finest weavers and dyers. Discussions with Buddhist monks, visits to Luang Prabang’s dazzling temples, and a two-day river trip to artisan villages underscore the rich cultural heritage and vibrant textile life of Laos.
The magnificent ruins of Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site, provide a backdrop to our exploration in Cambodia. Each day in Siem Reap begins with early-morning visits to specially selected sites in Angkor Wat’s vast complex. In the afternoons, we engage with textile and marketing experts who are working to revive historic weaving and dyeing techniques, and to market the textiles in an innovative fashion.
The travel group of 14 will stay at small hotels with local color and enjoy a wide variety of flavorful Lao and Cambodian cuisine. The hotels are situated to facilitate individual exploration of these important historical and cultural settings in Southeast Asia. The tour leader will provide suggestions to enhance individual explorations during free time. An evening hands-on cooking class for experiencing Lao cuisine is an add-on opportunity.
May 24-June 5, 2014
Flyer Laos Cambodia 2014 (PDF)
Registration Documents to be returned to TSA by February 20:
(right click to download PDFs)
Scholarship Application (online form) due January 31
Tour Leader and Hosts
The tour will be lead by Mary Littrell, Professor and Department Head Emerita in the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University. For the past 20 years, Mary’s research has focused on how textile artisan enterprises achieve sustainability in the increasingly competitive global market. Known for her work on fair trade, Mary’s most recent book is Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development (Kumarian Press, 2010). She has hosted study tours for students, researchers, and textile artists and enthusiasts to India, Guatemala, and Peru, lived and worked in Malaysia, and conducted field research in South and Southeast Asia, including Laos and Cambodia. Mary resides in Santa Fe, NM, where she is a Research Associate at the Museum of International Folk Art and active with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. She served on the TSA Board of Directors in 200-2004 and 2010-2012.
Registration open through February 20:
This TSA Study Tour is organized in collaboration with Esprit Travel & Tours, a respected US-based travel agency that organizes special interest tours in Asia. Initial registration and deposit will be made via the Textile Society of America. When the group fills and the trip has been confirmed, Esprit Travel & Tours will contact registrants to collect final payments, supplements for single accommodations if available, traveler details, and signed waiver.
Price for 14 participants: $3,900 ($1,500 deposit at time of registration)
Single Supplement: $600
Price of tour will include:
• International flights from Bangkok—Luang Prabang—Siem Reap—Bangkok
• 11 nights hotel accommodations as described, or similar, in a shared room
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
• Transfers and local transport as indicated by van and boat
• Local guide service: Meuang Lao Tours in Laos and Journeys Within in Cambodia
• Textile workshop as indicated in the itinerary
• Admissions and fees for special events as described in the itinerary
• International airfare between your home city and Bangkok
• Visas for Laos ($35) and Cambodia ($20) purchased upon arrival in each country. These are 2013 visa rates. You will be informed if visa rates change for 2014. You must have the exact amount in cash and will need two passport size photos for each country. In addition your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of the end of the trip.
• Tips to guides and drivers. Please plan to contribute $150, which we will pool and distribute as a group for our local guides and drivers.
• Optional hands-on cooking class in Laos. Once you have signed up for the trip, you will be provided with additional details about the class.
Activity Level and Climate:
This trip is designed for people who are able to walk as much as two miles over the course of a day. You must be able to get in and out of a boat. At Angkor Wat, the ground is not always level and the steps up into temples can be uneven. Average temperatures in both countries in late May and early June is 83 degrees F. in a humid climate. Plan for daily rain showers during the trip.
Good physical condition is recommended as preparation for this trip. An exercise regimen of brisk daily walking is recommended prior to the trip. By forwarding the trip deposit, the participant certifies that he/she meets the trip requirements for Activity Level (see above) and does not have any physical or other conditions of impairment that would create a hazard for him/herself or other travelers. If you have any concerns about your ability to travel, please speak to your doctor.