Thai silk worms, caterpillars rather than worms, munch on mounds of mulberry leaves before using their spittle to form cocoons. Weavers soak these cocoons in boiling water to extract the silk thread from the cocooned caterpillar then hand reel the raw silk on wooden spindles.
After dyeing, they weave blends of colorful threads on traditional hand-looms making exquisite Thai silk cloth.
This post is the last in my series about artisans of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. I took these images in a Thai silk making and weaving workshop documenting some of the stages from silk worm cocoons to finished product.
For background on the origins and process of Thai silk making check out Wikipedia’s Thai Silk article. Also, the rest of my Chiang Mai artisan series: The Art of Making Traditional Thai Parasols, The Art of Wood Carving and The Art of Thai Lacquerware.