The most important part of weaving loom is called "Osa" in Japanese that is like hair comb made of bamboo. It is not exaggerate to say that using "Osa" with thread sliding into the loom provides texture differences. Even Takeo province where is famous for textiles have switched to use metallic one instead of bamboo "Osa". When I made research at Takeo province at that time, only two families worked in traditional handmade "Osa". But the metallic one has become more mainstreams over the past dozen years or so and craftsman of "Osa"'s jobs and incomes are getting down.As a result of it, the current bamboo "Osa" I bought were not in good quality. I have been worried about the situation.
I asked Ms.Toul, who is one of the leaders of PWF weavers coming from Takeo province, to visit the families who make bamboo "Osa", when he returned to his hometown at New Year.
I got a ring from Ms.Toul when he returned to Takeo province and the "Osa" craftsman was in front of her. He told the craftsman could go to Siem Reap and also he wanted to know about the salary. Of course it was important matter but I could not pay so much. After dealing for a while, we agreed together.
In Japan, the last Japanese bamboo crafts worker was in Kyoto. It has passed long time since the worker died. And there was no heir so the skill was discontinued. I heard there are the people who try to restore the skill recently in Japan. The handmade bamboo "Osa" has warmth compared with machine made metal one which is inorganic. Of course the textiles produced are quite different.
At PWF, there are men who can produce weaving looms. But only this bamboo "Osa" is purely craftsman's job. It is almost impossible to produce them like the craftsman. The last professional craftsman finally came to PWF from Takeo province, which was the lacking part of our traditional textiles world.
So we have attained long-planned perfection. Taking over his skills by the young men at PWF is our next job.
Translation by Mr.Takurou MATSUOKA
update : May 12, 2008 7:23 AM