The National Silk Centre is 16
kilometers west of Siem Reap on
We enjoyed the tour through this centre, there is no
charge and you have your own personal guide. The tour starts right from the beginning with the planting of
the mulberry trees which are used for raising the silkworms.
They feed on these leaves until they reach the cocoon stage.
Then you will see the artisans extracting the silk threads from
the cocoon shells using hand reels.
The threads are then treated and dyed with colors from all
natural products prior to spooling. Some of the items take weeks or even months to make and many
are collectors items.
National Silk Centre also has a fantastic shop that
sells many silk products including ready to
wear men's and women's clothing, fashion accessories, cushions,
silk bedding etc.
There is also a small
collection of sculptures and statues.
I have a lot more info
on this shop under my shopping pages along with photos of some
items we bought there.
you have finished your tour and shopping at the Artisans
d'Angkor National Silk Centre step outside to their outdoor Cafe
and have something to eat or a nice cold drink.
Artisans d'Angkor was created to help young people find work in
their home villages, allowing them to practice their crafts and
providing them with a vocation and a role in society.
Artisans d'Angkor is intended to provide a sustainable and fair
development for arts and crafts in Siem Reap province, offering
young artisans a job on-site or in its rural workshops in and
around Siem Reap. It gives artisans fulfilling and stable working conditions and
provides them with a vocation, so that they can express their
talents and continue to develop their skills.
Artisans d'Angkor was created in 1999 as part of a 3-year
supported project to professionally integrate young artisans
that had been trained by the Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation
CEFP are a Cambodian state-run organization that aims at
providing the training required by young people (most of them
living in the rural areas and having received little education),
and at preparing them for their professional integration.
CEFP have contributed to reviving traditional craft jobs (stone
& wood carving, lacquering, gilding and silk-related jobs). There are 2 training
centers, the Craftsmanship centre for stone
and wood carving, gilding and lacquering and the National Silk
Centre for mulberry tree growing, silkworm breeding and
treatment of the thread, then the weaving.
centers have free great guided tours that are definitely well
worth doing. After the tours look around the shops and maybe buy
some good quality gifts to take back home. I certainly did!!
Artisans d’Angkor is now completely self-financed.
invests in new apprenticeships and skill creation via continuous
training, sets up new rural village workshops and participates
in major projects in order to promote Cambodian culture and
handicrafts, as for the 2005 World Expo.
It has created over 700 jobs both for artisans (550) and
non-craftsmen. Fifteen workshops are operating in villages in Siem Reap
province for craft jobs such as stone and wood carving,
lacquering, gilding and silk-related jobs.
Since its creation, Artisans d'Angkor has pioneered a new social
policy in Cambodia, guaranteeing levels of pay and social and
medical welfare. The
artisans have also formed an association which has a 20% stake
in the company.