It’s a long drive – four and a half hours from Chiang Mai on the paved road, and two and a half more on a dirt track which winds up over the mountains. Our first stop was Thi U Lu; this is the village where we first started our weaving work, in 1988. In those days there was no road to Thi U Lu; the first loom that we acquired – still in use – was shipped in on elephant back. Today there are fourteen women weaving in our weaving house.
After spending the night in Mae Tola, we drove to Mae Ra Ma village the following day. This village contains 18,000 refugees who have fled the various conflicts in Burma. Here we weave most of our baskets.
To reach the section of the camp where most of the basket weavers live you have to cross a suspension bridge which spans a river. This river also forms a natural boundary between Mae Hong Son and Tak province.