So it turns out that silk weaving is not my calling.
In the lovely land of Laos, we fortunate travellers can take a class and learn to weave silk. There’s a wonderful little silk weaving workshop in Luang Prabang oddly named Ock Pop Tok and for $60 I dyed and weaved my own silk.
The lesson began with learning about how the different barks and roots created each colour and we boiled them down and mixed them with ashes to create the permanent dye. We learned how the silk worms are boiled to extract the silk of their cacoons and I watched Lao women at work behind the looms. I was keen to get started.
However the work was tedious and I quickly grew bored. The hard wooden bench with no back support felt harsh as I sat for hours sliding the bar back and forth across the strands of silk.
My work grew sloppy and the teacher watched me fumble with impatience. She tittered at the defects I’d made and cruelly pointed them out to the other instructor with a laugh.
I’m not against hard work but that day I didn’t enjoy myself. It took four hours of work to produce only a square foot of silk in dark blue with turquoise patterns.
I came away from the lessons with the silk I’d made and a greater respect for those who weave for a living. Also a knowledge of what silk worm poo tea tastes like, so I have that going for me.