Pha Toomthong Silk - Traditional Handwoven Silk

 

Pha Toomthong Silk is a traditional hand-weaving group, founded in 1976, based in Na Pho District, Buriram Province.  Sangduen Ormthai (Pui), the respected founder of Pha Toomthong, named the group after her grandfather, who was  a weaving teacher and progressive thinker, and where much of her inspiration comes from.  

After gaining a degree and work experience in Bangkok, Pui returned to village -Baan Na Pho, with the determination to apply her knowledge for the good and development of her hometown.  Most of her fellow villagers are rice farmers, but many also weave as a side-line during the off-planting or off-harvesting seasons.  Pui formed a small group of these weavers – 16 people – and brought their products to sell at markets and government-sponsored exhibitions.  Although things were going well, she soon realized that this production and selling strategy was advantageous only for those with the best handcrafting skills.  She realised this imbalance could not support the long-term sustainable development needed to strengthen the whole community.

Based on her management experience outside Baan Na Pho, she made a plan to apply professional style management in ways which would not abuse culture or tradition or favour one group over another. She analysed each members strengths and weaknesses, understanding that each person has a unique potential and ability to create.  She also set specific criteria to recruiting from minority groups, with a strong focus on the disabled, ill or underprivileged.  By creating this positive and supportive cycle, she was able to create a unique working system that supported all members of the community, allowing members to carry on their simple way of living, contributing in village activities and traditions while ensuring consistent income for all members of the collective. Today, “Baan Na Pho, The Weavers Collective,” consists of nearly 800 members, exporting silk worth over $1 million annually. 

Material Upcycling

Silk Yarn Remnants

Fabric Development

Traditional Hand-reeling

Ancient Techniques

Sustainable small-scale Production

Highly valued skilled artisans

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