Craft, Art, and Spirituality - all in a day's touring
Evidently this village, and the surrounding enclaves, comprise a sort of cottage industry making a large variety of cotton products, many of which are sold in shops in Chiang Mai. The hit of the fair seemed to be tufted rugs, which most of our group bought. Disappointing, however was the volume of cheap, printed cotton readymade apparel brought in to fill out the Fair. I guess the thrill of the hunt was to find the handwoven, naturally-colored pieces for which this area was once famous.
Having exhausted my capacity for shopping, I wandered around the tiny temple in the center of the village
After lunch, it was time to move on to our last stop: Dhamma Park Foundation. This very special environment is the creation of two artists: Venetia Walkey and Inson Wongsam. Inson was away, but Venetia graciously provided snacks and congenial conversation prior to our informal tour given by her son Tony. Not only the site of their home, studios and galleries, it is also an artpark, with Inson's large colorful sculptures accenting the lush greenery of the gardens.
Several galleries are open, including a small gallery housing Venetia's whimsical bronzes (below),
and, across the lily pond and bridge, a handsome white building devoted to her plaster sculptures showing light-hearted, contemporary depictions of the Buddhist Pathway to Inner Peace and World Peace.
In a large, old traditional Thai teak house Inson shows a variety of his works, including sculptures, large carved wood bas reliefs, and the original Lambretta motorscooter on which he rode to Europe in the early 1960's. (That odyssey was commemorated by artist Nawin Rawanchaikul in a show called 'Fly With Me To Another World- the unforgettable story of a Thai artist who made his dreams come true').
- they grow their own cotton on an adjacent plantation. This was a wonderful supplement to our morning of cotton shopping, where there were no demonstrations. And it was a great finale to a day of craft, art and spirituality.