Tags

, , , , , ,

Loom for weaving silk. Notice the circular (upright) basket? This is where the silk worms are placed.

Loom for weaving silk. Notice the circular (upright) basket? This is where the silk worms are placed. The entire process is fascinating. 

Artisans Angkor is a place I really didn’t have on my itinerary, but Tola, who works at the Moon Boutique Hotel advised me to go, i.e., he indicated it would be well worth my time. It was indeed!

Tuk tuk driver taking me to the Artisans Angkor workshop. My hotel is hidden in a residential area of Siem Reap. Appropriately, it is nice and quiet, which I appreciated.

Tuk tuk driver taking me to the Artisans Angkor workshop. My hotel is hidden in a residential area of Siem Reap. Appropriately, it is nice and quiet, which I appreciated.

Artisans Angkor is a Cambodian social business whose purpose is to create job opportunities for young people living in rural areas, while reviving at the same time traditional Khmer craftsmanship (stone and wood carving, painting on statues and on silk, lacquering, and silver plating). The organisation is located on Stung Thmey Street, 2 minutes walk from the Old Market in Siem Reap  center, Cambodia. Two sites are open to the public in Siem Reap – one specializing in crafts located on Stung Thmey Street and the other specializing in silk at the Angkor Silk Farm (20mins drive from Siem Reap center, in Puok district). Seven shops selling handmade items made by Artisans Angkor can be found in Siem Reap center, at the Angkor Silk Farm, at the Angkor Café in front of Angkor Wat temple, in Phnom Penh city center and in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh International Airport as well.Artisans Angkor is a semi-public company whose story started in 1992 with an educational project called “Les Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle” (CEFP) implemented by the Cambodian Ministry of Education. This project aimed at rebuilding the country after the war period by training young people in the building sector, such as masonry, plumbing, tiling, painting, etc. Hence, “Les Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle” developed an educational methodology to provide those skills to underprivileged young Cambodians with little education.In the mid-1990s, this training was extended to traditional Khmer craftsmanship, as this essential part of the Khmer cultural heritage had almost disappeared. At the end of the training, there were many employment opportunities for the young people trained in the building sector but as the tourism was not yet well-developed in Cambodia at that time, it was more difficult to find a job in the field of handicrafts.

This is John and Jonathan. Both were staying at the Moon Boutique Hotel and although, we didn't hang out together, we compared notes at breakfast on places we had been, as well as places we planned on going to. Jonathan had a major intestinal problem during their stay and passed on doing anything one day. Hey, it happens.

This is John and Jonathan. Both were staying at the Moon Boutique Hotel and although, we didn’t hang out together, we compared notes at breakfast on places we had been, as well as places we planned on going to. Jonathan had a major intestinal problem during their stay and passed on doing anything one day. Hey, it happens.

The entire self-guided tour takes about a 1-2 hours to complete, depending upon your interest in the various arts and crafts. At the end of the tour is a very nice gift shop (with air conditioning) and an outdoor cafe. I was impressed with how the place was laid out. All artisans and their art are easily observable/accessible, where you can ask questions if you feel like it.

image

The photos which follow are from my visit there. I’ve also included a few miscellaneous photos as well. So, this completes my posts for Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. Ironically, I have been in Phnom Penh for more then a week and I haven’t even begun any posts on this area. One last thing I want to mention. I visited an outstanding restaurant called Chamkar in Siem Reap which is vegan and vegetarian (are you listening Jerry?); and, the Moon Boutique Hotel. I usually don’t have links for other sites, but I am including the TripAdvisor links for both due to how much I enjoyed both. Yes, I did reviews for these outstanding businesses. 🙂

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g297390-d1161787-Reviews-Chamkar-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g297390-d2203062-r230486482-The_Moon_Boutique_Hotel-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html

imageimageimage

image

imageimage

image

I am not certain what these sticks were? Possibly back scratchers.

I am not certain what these sticks were? Possibly back scratchers.

image

Artisans Angkor also masters the arts of polychrome and lacquering which have different processes depending on the medium used as a basis (wood or stone). Lacquerware and polychrome products are often gilded with copper or golden leaves.

Artisans Angkor also masters the arts of polychrome and lacquering which have different processes depending on the medium used as a basis (wood or stone). Lacquerware and polychrome products are often gilded with copper or golden leaves.

image

image

image

image

This sandstone statue typically sells for approximately $2500 to $4000.

This sandstone statue typically sells for approximately $2500 to $4000.

Childcare is usually provided by a relative (grandmother). However, it is not unusual for a mother to bring her child to work, as this artist has done.

Childcare is usually provided by a relative (grandmother). However, it is not unusual for a mother to bring her child to work, as this artist has done.

Bas relief made of sandstone. This piece probably costs a couple thousand dollars.

Bas relief made of sandstone. This piece probably costs a couple thousand dollars.

Silk cocoons. Silk weaving is a tradition that traces its origins back to the 13th century, as a result of the influence of the Silk Road in South Asia. It became an exclusive vocation for the women of rural villages who produced among others, one of the most famous Cambodian fabrics called “Hol Lboeuk” thanks to the traditional technique of “Ikat”. Artisans Angkor revives this ancient technique in Cambodia in its very traditional way.

Silk cocoons. Silk weaving is a tradition that traces its origins back to the 13th century, as a result of the influence of the Silk Road in South Asia. It became an exclusive vocation for the women of rural villages who produced among others, one of the most famous Cambodian fabrics called “Hol Lboeuk” thanks to the traditional technique of “Ikat”. Artisans Angkor revives this ancient technique in Cambodia in its very traditional way.

Silk metamorphis.

Silk metamorphis.

The "Old Market" in downtown Siem Reap. This place is similar to Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh, but much smaller and hotter (almost like a steam bath walking through the small stall aisles).  Pub Street, another landmark area for dining and drinking is located across the street.

The “Old Market” in downtown Siem Reap. This place is similar to Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh, but much smaller and hotter (almost like a steam bath walking through the small stall aisles). Pub Street, another landmark area for dining and drinking is located across the street.

Don't expect too much in Siem Reap. The infrastructure is quite poor, e.g., very few paved streets. That being said, I found it charming and quite relaxful during my stay.

Don’t expect too much in Siem Reap. The infrastructure is quite poor, e.g., very few paved streets. That being said, I found it charming and quite relaxful during my stay.

Another photo of the Old Market.

Another photo of the Old Market.

This is a simple rice and chicken lunch. When you are in Cambodia, order  called Lok Lak, which is made with chicken, beef, or fish (amok).  It is delicious as well.

This is a simple rice and chicken lunch. When you are in Cambodia, order called Lok Lak, which is made with chicken, beef, or fish (amok). It is delicious as well.

Advertisements