The National Silk Center in Puok, which is 20 minutes from Siem Reap, is managed by Artisans D’Angkor, an offshoot of the Chantiers-Écoles project, setup in 1998 with financial support from the European Union to develop a sustainable model for cambodian artisans to make a living from handicraft production. Approximately 1000 artisans in 15 workshops make handicrafts through lacquering sandstone and wood, carving wood and stone, and spinning silk.
A guided tour took us through all stages seri culture or silk farming, from mulberry trees that feed the hungry larvae to the factory floor where young rural women working handlooms turn spools of silk into fabric and finally to the finished silk products sold at their very chic store.
The cocooning caterpillars are stored in wicker baskets to be later boiled alive in their cocoons to unravel the silk thread. From saliva of the Bombyx mori, or silkworm to beautiful lustrous silk. The dead worms also make a crunchy fried snack for the workers.
It was very inspiring to see the sustainable project which is incredibly successful and preserves the local handicraft industry.