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Ambacht in Beeld Festival 21 & 22 September 2024
NDSM Loods, Amsterdam-Noord

| Weave a basket (Laos)

Ae Saiyasith - Ock Pop Tok Laos - Saturday 23 september & Sunday 24 september
2 hours
€ 30
Minimum age:
12 years
Saturday 23 september
Sunday 24 september

Join a master bamboo weaver from Luang Prabang, Laos, and learn about the many uses of bamboo in Laos. During this interactive workshop, you will learn the craft of bamboo weaving and make a basket, using no other tools than your hands and creativity.


Bamboo is a very useful material in Laos and is used in all aspects of daily life. We eat it (like in bamboo soup), make musical instruments, make weapons for hunting and traps for catching animals, and even use it for paper. We use it in construction to build houses, walls, roofs and even bridges. We split the bamboo in various ways to weave it into baskets, hats, traps, ceremonial items, woven walls and mats.

Many bamboo creations are dark brown in colour, because they have been hung over the house fire in the smoke 
to harden the bamboo and to kill off any insects living in the bamboo. In the villages, the weaving of cloth is done mainly by women, but bamboo weaving is usually done by men. It is an important skill and some people say that a man cannot get married unless he can weave bamboo.


There are over 1000 varieties of bamboo in the world; four main ones are used in Laos. They have many uses, depending on how wide the bamboo stems are and on the age of the plant. In the countryside, we go to the forest to cut bamboo and we choose stems that are the right length between joints. The bamboo is split and peeled and then scraped so it is smooth and flat. Then it is soaked in water, maybe in the river, sometimes for a few days to make it soft and flexible and also to get rid of insects in the bamboo.


At Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre, we value traditional crafts and teach it to visitors to not only keep it alive and thriving but to encourage visitors to get a better appreciation of the various crafts of Laos, including bamboo weaving.


Originally from Ngoi District, Ae moved to Luang Prabang in 2006 to become a monk. Since a young age, like many young Lao boys, he was taught the art of bamboo weaving by his father. While bamboo has many uses in Laos, it’s hard to make a living out of it in Laos. Ae thus decided to take a new direction in 2010. With the hopes of increasing his chances of working in tourism – Luang Prabang being a UNESCO heritage town, its hospitality scene offered many opportunities – Ae decided to study English. He joined Ock Pop Tok in 2012 then left in 2017 to gain some more experience. All throughout, he never let go of his love for bamboo weaving and would always find some time to practice. Working at Ock Pop Tok made this easier for him as Ock Pop Tok promotes the traditional crafts of Laos through workshops. Ae rejoined the Ock Pop Tok family at the end of 2022 as Assistant Hospitality Manager, jumping in to teach bamboo weaving classes to tourists visiting Luang Prabang and thus sharing his love for the art of bamboo weaving. Ae loves that his job gives him the opportunity to learn new things every day while meeting people from all over the world. In his spare time, you will find Ae fishing on the banks of the Mekong, often using bamboo traps and baskets he fashioned himself.


Connected through Craftscurator.



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