Carpets with a positive impact woven right in
In a bustling workshop in the backstreets of inner city Vientiane, agile fingers are hard at work and eyes are trained closely on the task at hand. The fine silk flows liberally as a team of mainly female employees hailing from across Laos work their chosen material into intricate and attractive patterns. Creations emerge gradually in a wide range of original and inspired designs that promise comfort, style and timeless value to their prospective purchasers.
While the high quality Lao silk found inside is most typically seen in skirts, blouses, scarves and more, it is true to say that the durable textile that passes through this special workshop shall never be worn as apparel. Instead, it’s carpets that these skilled craftspeople are busy creating.
Weaving timeless enchantment and opportunity into the lives of all those it touches, Magic Lao Carpets combines Laos’ ancient and authentic silk traditions with the famed techniques of central Asia. Their exquisite hand-made piles and flatweaves (kilims) emerge from high quality hand-spun silk, dyed with natural vegetable based techniques to create timeless pieces. Production comes together under the keen, yet kind, gaze of Laos’ own Souvita Phaseuth (Lani) and her husband Ismit, a native of Turkmenistan, where carpet-making is woven deeply into the culture.
For the past two decades in Laos, they have drawn on countless years of accumulated wisdom to help provide stable and safe employment opportunities for a workforce of Lao young women, including those with disabilities.
“One of our main goals has always been to provide Lao girls with skills and a vocation that will help them to improve their lives,” Lani explains.
“In addition to attitude, they must have a feel for the craft, an artistic sense to love this job. If they have that, then they are able to stay on with us for as long as they want.”
It isn’t just the techniques and hard skills that are transferred to employees, but also the values that have helped to make the business a success. Lani says while the cost of fine carpets and kilims can add up depending on attributes, they prove treasured heirlooms that transcend generations.
“Carpets are investments that increase in value over time,” Lani explains.
Customer satisfaction includes a guarantee as well as a willingness to sit down and craft a design that suits.
“If our clients want something, exclusive or unique, or anything they want, we can do it for them.”
No matter which piece captures your heart, Magic Lao Carpets provides the very best tapestry with a positive impact woven right in.
Open Mon-Sat 09.00 am – 05.00 pm
Ban Nongdouang Tai, Sikhottabong District, Vientiane
Text by STEVEN CLEARY
Photographs by PHOONSAB THEVONGSA