OUR PARTNER: BASIK 855
In 2008, Basik 855’s founder Daniel Flickinger visited Takeo Province in Cambodia for the first time, and was struck by the high number of skilled artisans making traditional ikat textiles. Saddened by the poverty but inspired by the predominance of weaving skills in an area where every home had at least one wooden handloom, Daniel saw an opportunity for economic growth. A year later he started the Push Pull Cambodia Weaving Center – to stimulate a renaissance of Cambodian ikat, giving the local people of Takeo a chance to make a better living in an industry rooted in their own customs.
Accompany Us To Cambodia:
Our team visited the Push Pull Weaving Center in Cambodia to see the 46 Khmer artisans work with their traditional craft. The Center, which Daniel started with a Khmer Master Designer, develops new patterns that are modern, bold and globally resonant, using techniques that date back hundreds of years. Ikat weaving uses a specific process in which yarn is tie-dyed before being loomed to create a graphic design or pattern on the finished textile. The Center has provided organization for a group of artisans who were previously forced to work independently – sourcing their own raw materials, dying and weaving threads and then returning to the market to sell their finished product. As a result of working in the center, artisans are able to collaborate, share materials and tools, and produce more fabric in a shorter amount of time, thereby building a more sustainable source of income. With this system, artisans are able to make much more than they could independently, or in a large factory. Freeing artisans from factory work – which was often more than an hour away – allows workers to stay closer to home, bring profits to their local community, and support their traditional handcrafts instead of turning to work as unskilled laborers. All the textiles produced at Push Pull are assembled into bags at Phnom Penh by Friends International, an NGO that has done extensive work getting kids off the street – more than 500 kids come to the non-profit everyday for vocational training and housing, as well as education against child sex tourism. The profits from Friends go directly to the support of these programs. Accompany was able to experience firsthand the positive work environment created at PushPull – where workers are given a safe, healthy workplace with reasonable hours and long lunch breaks. The transparent production center, provides a place for traditional crafts to be sustained and strengthened – allowing skilled artisans the opportunity to work in their own village, building stable incomes and communities.
- Basik 855 employs 46 artisans and counting.
- Basik 855 workers make double (roughly $120 a month) what they would otherwise earn in the area and 50% more than workers in surrounding factories and urban areas.
- Each worker earns $5 USD per 1 meter of fabric they produce, the lower average of what a worker can easily produce in one day.