I had planned to write about other things today but with Thailand’s military announcing the country is now under martial law, my thoughts are with the wonderful people I met only a few short months ago.

On my second day in Bangkok, I made my way to The Jim Thompson House, hidden at the end of a quiet soi in the heart of Bangkok. I had heard the story: he came to Thailand as a GI, fell in love with the people and culture but most importantly, saw an opportunity to bring Thai silk to the western world.

The compound consists of six traditional Thai houses cobbled together without a single nail! The garden is more a jungle with paths – the scale of the foliage is huge.

The tour guides took us through his living quarters, beautifully decorated with Asian antiquities he discovered during his travels. Unfortunately, he mysteriously disappeared in 1967 on a trip to the Cameroon Highlands; went out for a walk and was never seen again.

Eight families wove the silk for Jim Thompson. They lived on the other side of the canal in a small Muslim community called Ban Krua. I was interested to learn the community still exists on a much smaller scale.Following the signs to Ban Krua

The reality is that hand weaving in Thailand is a dwindling business. I spoke to a few women who previously worked as weavers but could earn more money doing other things.

Luck was on my side, however. I made it back to the area on my last day in Thailand. This time crossing the footbridge to Ban Krua and following the signs to the weaving community. As far as I can tell, the “community” is now one family with two looms in a crowded back room.

I walked in the open door to find an elderly, shirtless gentleman asleep while a young child watched television. Where were the weavers? I was horrified that I had just barged into their personal space!  It didn’t matter. They welcomed me and showed me pictures of the family with Jim Thompson, led me to a room filled with silk scarves and shawls  but best of all, I got to meet the weaver and see her in action!

It’s a humbling experience to watch her weave. She is working with two shafts and the finest silk thread, creating simple, beautiful fabric. And at lightening speed!

I think simplicity is where it’s at.Saying goodbye to my host