Uncertain future looms for ancient Thai silk

From csmonitor.com: Uncertain future looms for ancient Thai silk.

Deep in the steamy thicket of low-rise wooden houses of this city’s Ban Khrua Muslim quarter, the din of teak hand looms thudding and clacking fills the air. Here in the canal-side workshop of Nipon Manuthas, three women surrounded by the kaleidoscope of vibrantly dyed silk spools pump the pedals of the looms with bare feet. The weavers manage to carry on an animated conversation over the racket as they pass spools back and forth across the looms.

It’s a scene straight out of another century, but the lustrous swaths of fabric that Mr. Nipon’s little workshop produces in this humble old neighborhood are in demand from bespoke tailors for a jet-setting clientele of European diplomats and dignitaries. [continue]