Tribal Trappings – Asian Ethnic Art, Artifacts, Textiles and Folk Art Tribal Trappings – Thoughts about Thailand, Chiang Mai, things tribal including textiles, ethnographica and folk art <data:blog.pageTitle/>

Monday, April 18, 2011

Craft, Art, and Spirituality - all in a day's touring

In need of an adventure, our local informal textile group headed to the annual 'Don Luang Cotton Fair' south of Lamphun. Thanks to the skill of our driver, we found it- well-hidden down a lane off the main road, south of Pasang. The Fair turned out to be the entire village decked out in cotton wares for sale.

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

and was rewarded with some interesting images of reflections and a pair of monk statues housed in a shrine,

as well as a shot of the local PTT petrol station.

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').

In the open area under this structure we were given a demonstration of cotton production from cleaning and carding to spinning,

and finally weaving

- 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.

Labels: , , , , , , ,