Women at Work
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Our factory is on the outskirt of Yangon (https://goo.gl/maps/1LjAwbwfipT2). It's in the industrial zone, so there are many villages around us where most of our artisans come from. But of course, many live outside of the zone as well and we arrange ferries to and fro factory to make commute easy.
Weaving is a rare art nowadays. As it takes 6 months to 1 year for one to become somewhat proficient in weaving, i.e., to be able to weave a simple dining chair, fewer people are willing to weave for a living.
In Myanmar, there are more female weavers than males; in fact, we can go as far as to say male weavers are nearly non-existent. Especially in the industrial zone where we're located, men tend to go for higher-paying jobs such as construction, work that require heavy lifting, metal framing, etc.
Working from Home
Weaving is not a career that makes money immediately. It takes time to learn and to earn as an adept weaver. However, one reaps its benefits till after retirement age. It is a skill that allows one to earn while working from home or taking care of household and family.
There are a couple of villages away from the industrial zone where we send our top weavers to impart weaving know-hows. They get paid by the quantity, quality and difficulty of the product.
For our work-at-home weavers, it also serves as another source of income, in addition to seasonal farming jobs they partake.
A frame of a basket, lantern, or accessory is made at the factory and these frames are distributed at the weavers' homes. At the appointed time, we'd collect the finished products.
Encouraging the Art of Weaving
Our weavers' team leaders train the newcomers. Nowadays, we are also encouraging and training more male weavers.
If we are developing a new design, team leader would weave a sample first for all the weavers to follow suit.
Depending on the size and difficulty of a product as well as the skill of a weaver, there would be 1-3 weavers working on one piece. Most of our weavers at the factory work full-time from 9am to 5pm while others from 8am to 4pm.
Quality Check on Finished Products
All the finished woven products go through QC (Quality Check). As everything is hand-made, this is an important step - to ensure everything is standardised.
Once the weaving is done, QC team firstly removes the rattan hairs.
Then, each rod or peel is examined individually to make sure there is no damage or uneven space and if there is, QC will repair as needed. The item will then be passed onto the paint team, where they will stain colours on the product as requested by the customer.
Our QC team is also dominated by women; some move onto weaving after spending a couple of years in QC, as they develop the eye for creation, aesthetics and weavings.
If you'd like to meet our weavers and talk to them about their art and passion, feel free to get an appointment with me at firstname.lastname@example.org ;)