Vietnamese artisan makes silk from lotus plants

06:00 | 05/09/2021 Culture & Tourism

(VEN) - Phan Thi Thuan from Hanoi’s My Duc District is the first artisan in Vietnam who has succeeded in making silk from the lotus plant, marking a new milestone for craft development.

After more than 40 years of working with silk, 70-year-old Thuan decided two years ago to try making silk from lotus after meeting scientists from the Ministry of Science and Technology engaged in a national-level project to produce silk from lotus plants.

vietnamese artisan makes silk from lotus plants

Worm silk is widely known but lotus silk or lotus fiber silk is unique to Vietnam. Thuan has promoted the craft to a new level with her passion and creativity.

Her road to success was not silky smooth. “Each lotus thread is 10 times thinner than a strand of hair. I broke them many times. It requires a lot of meticulous and skillful workmanship,” Thuan recalled.

Each lotus stem can produce one meter of thread and about 4,800 threads are required to make a scarf, according to Thuan.

Skilled workers can work on 200 stems a day, meaning that making a scarf can take about one month. “It takes a lot of work, effort, and time for a lotus silk product but it is worth it because it’s very smooth and especially pure, which no other type of silk can match,” she said.

vietnamese artisan makes silk from lotus plants

In 2019, Thuan introduced unique lotus silk scarves, shirts, and dresses, marking a milestone for the silk weaving industry in the country and paving a new direction for its development.

Since then, lotus silk has grown in popularity. Her lotus silk scarves were brought to the G20 summit by former Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as gifts for international friends.

Lotus silk is durable and breathes, and can be made into bags, book covers, home decorations, wall frames, and other items, the most popular being scarves. A 1.7m scarf costs more than VND8 million (US$347). Thuan’s lotus silk products are sold in many countries including France, the US and Japan.

vietnamese artisan makes silk from lotus plants

Now Thuan is trying to create silk using a fusion of both silkworm and lotus for more affordable and sustainable products to meet the demand of the eco-friendly fashion market.

Production of silk products from lotus stalks opens up the prospect of improving workers’ incomes and creating jobs. Thuan hopes the craft will be developed and preserved and carve a niche in both domestic and foreign markets.

vietnamese artisan makes silk from lotus plants

Pham Tiep