Last weekend we took a sneaky trip to Cambodia to visit ancient temples of Angkor Wat and soak up the divine culture that is South East Asia. Oh I love it. Such a contrast to the big city madness of Hong Kong. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and it exceeded all of my expectations.

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There was the usual elephants eating out of our hands (hello… elephants.. amazing!)  cambodia_shadows

The patterns and the craftsmanship in the temples are just incredible. Intricately carved out of stone, shapes of animals, plants and flowers are all woven together to tell the stories of the gods. Many of the shapes and detailing of the temples are  based on the Lotus flower. My favourite flower in the whole world. I didn’t know that it’s a sacred symbol of purity and has long been used to make fabric! Yes… fabric! Pee your pants excitement.

Lotus Flower Buds

 

Like a woman possessed, I dragged my kids to the Samatoa Lotus Farm to see this fabled fabric being made.  A few serious ice cream bribes for the smalls later,  we arrived to witness the lotus loom in full swing.
Lotus Fabric Production Loom

 

In this fairtrade workshop they take the fibres from the stem of the lotus and hand spin the into thread before weaving in with silk. Spinning Lotus Fibre

Lotus thread on straws.

I love the simple ingenuity of Asia – here they use plastic drinking straws for spools. Below they’ve folded each of the huge lotus petals in on themselves to create a flower that floated on water in our hotel. Clever, clever, clever!

Lotus flowers folded

In the end I didn’t get to buy any fabric, none of it was on sale at the Farm that we visited and I was all out of bribes for a shopping trip with the smalls. They had been subjected to pink flowers and fabric and, as little boys, would abide no more girly stuff! But here’s a pic from Samatoa of the finished product – it’s heavy but so soft with the most hint of warm gold. *sigh* While I can’t quite believe that I got so close but didn’t get to buy any, at least now I have an excuse to go back on my own!
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Image Credit: Samatoa Lotus Farm

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