The evolution of the silk worm (formally known as the Bombyx mori) is a fascinating narrative, a sequential process whereby an egg hatches into a caterpillar, which after feeding, weaves itself a lustrously soft cocoon. From this cocoon, an elegant moth emerges, ready to mate in order to repeat this short but eventful life cycle. Silk is made from these robust cocoons, which are boiled and unwound to create the delicate silk thread used for textiles.
Jim Thompson is truly unique in that it controls the entire silk-making process for its famous silk fabrics. This has always enabled us to closely manage and review quality control and to solely employ only the most-skilled individuals.
Land purchased at Pak Thong Chai (a North Eastern region in Thailand) was developed to enable Jim Thompson to manage the silk production process effectively. The company originally worked closely with contracted specialists to breed a hybrid silk worm (combining both Thai and Chinese-Japanese breeds), which today is still responsible for our high-quality silk products.
At Jim Thompson, the eggs laid by silk moths are sold to local farmers who complete the rearing process for us. In the beginning, Jim Thompson employed as many as 3000 farmers in order to ensure the silk worm’s healthy evolution. To this day, the contracted farmers are responsible for keeping a close eye on the eggs until they hatch, hand feeding them the mulberry leaves, and monitoring the cocooning process.
Once this is completed, the cocoons are sold back to the Jim Thompson Farm to be made into silk. This helps continue Jim Thompson’s own philanthropic vision to aid the community and promote local economic growth in rural Thailand.
Aside from silk rearing, Jim Thompson also purchases the farmers’ own produce, an enterprise which encourages and supports the continuation of local business in the North Eastern region.
Choosing to work with local farmers to complete the rearing process created free space at the Jim Thompson Farm, which was previously dedicated to breeding facilities and Mulberry Tree orchards. The collaboration provided us with enough available land to produce an organic farm and flower garden, open to the public throughout December and January.
The farm features an array of visitor attractions including a charming pumpkin patch, a traditional Isan village, a quaint market, selling organic vegetables and local crafts, as well as a series of exhibits and talks explaining the silk-making process and showcasing the traditional, rural way of life.
From the silk worm's evolution, to the process of making, weaving and dyeing silk, visitors are able to attend informative demonstrations on the unique process. The Jim Thompson Farm has been providing its visitors with a fascinating insight into silk production and rural crafts since it first opened in 2001.