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April 28, 2011 Published in Business

Cambodia, Laos Featured On World Fair Trade Day

Cambodian and Laotian artists ply their craft (Courtesy Photo)

On Saturday, May 14, World Fair Trade Day, Ten Thousand Villages in Old Town, Alexandria, will host a presentation by store manager Kate McMahon on her recent learning tour of Southeast Asia.

The free, hour-long presentation will begin at 10:00 am, before the store opens, and the first 30 attendees will receive a special gift from Cambodia, and will also be allowed to shop the 50% off sale of items from Cambodia and Laos before the doors open at 11:00 am.

“I thought I knew all about our Cambodian and Laotian artisans,” said McMahon. “But meeting them in person – I was blown away by their energy, their graciousness and gentle spirit, but also their amazing skills in metalworking, weaving, and other crafts, all in what we would consider primitive working conditions, such as being without electricity several hours a day.”

Participants will meet many of these artisans in McMahon’s presentation, learning not just about the countries of Cambodia and Laos but also seeing their favorite Ten Thousand Villages items being made start to finish.  “Our textile weavers in Laos do not buy all of their silk," McMahon said. "They maintain a mulberry tree farm which feeds the silkworms, from which they then harvest the silk, clean, dye, and spin it, and finally weave it into the fine textiles you see in our store. Now I know what “handmade” really means!”

Participants will also get a preview of upcoming Villages items currently being made at the artisan workshops. Seating is limited, so reservations are strongly encouraged.

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