Bangsai Arts and Crafts Centre
Trip Start Aug 08, 2009
42Trip End Jun 01, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Yesterday, Charlotte, Julie Ann, and I (they're the Project Trust girls) went with a teacher to Bangsai Arts and Crafts Centre by Ayutthaya. It was more like a school where students can learn to do Thai handicraft. It blew any expectations that I might have had. You see baskets, bags, furniture, paintings, plates, vases, figurines, etc. and you really don't give a second thought to how they're made, you just see a little label saying Made in Thailand, or Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. You don't give a thought to who spent painstaking hours of intense concentration to make these beautiful products that we, as tourists/foreigners take for granted. And all that works gets them maybe 10 or 20 baht
We saw some incredible paintings. We were shown the essential first step of traditional Thai art. It's a flame-like shape that is actually really complex, despite how simple it seems. It's in everything you see here; the archictecture, art, clothing, handicraft, and more. Artists practice just that shape over and over again Then there's this process of where you go from a sketch, to inking it, to punching a TON of little holes in it, to placing it over a black board sort of thing and powdering it and then there's even more that I couldn't remember. It's so complex, there's months and even years that go into creating just one piece.
There was a sketch that one guy did completely free-hand with no guide or picture, just from his imagination. I'll just say I could never imagine something so beautiful, intricate, interwoven, and stunning
We went to the art museum place nearby, the Bangsai Arts and Crafts Centre. The whole thing was started by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand to help villagers improve the quality of their products to sell to improve family incomes in places of sub-standard living conditions, which is still just about everywhere
We passed more workshops. The bulidings were all lined up next to each other. Just big, open, garage-like buildings. There was a metal-works shop, wood-work, carving, furniture, and so it goes on. I know they definitely wouldn't be called sweatshops. There weren't little kids in there stitching together shoes by hand, but it still gave me a funny feeling. It makes me feel guilty knowing that these people work tirelessly for hours on stuff that we can buy very cheaply and take for granted. And who knows how much they're being paid.
I managed a spicy dish at lunch and then we fooled around by a Muay Thai statue, I think there's a picture from it.
There was a supermarket where Charlotte and Julie Ann bought lots of food. All of those who went to Washington or Garfield, do you remember the electrophoresis labs we did where you'd use agar as the substance to put they dyes in? Yeah I saw cans of flavoured agar there, to eat. I didn't buy it. We also tried this delicious dessert, candy floss wrapped in green crepe-like food. Awesome. They wanted to buy shredded pork, so Ajarn Somchai led us through a maze of markets to find it. That was an adventure. We went up and down, crossed streets, jumped over puddles. It sort of went underground a bit after we walked through this sketchy-looking place with tarps strung up everywhere. It smelled worse the further we got. There was disgusting street water everywhere that you'd jump over and tiptoe around. I'm not sure what the sewer system is here, I usually just see everyone throw their waste and stuff on the side of the road, where there's really nowhere for anything to drain
I spent the last two evenings with Charlotte and Julie Ann. They're here with Project Trust, which sends students from the U.K. to different countries to teach English. They're awesome. I'm jealous that they get their own place to live in and chill out, not to mention it's right by the school. It's so nice to hang out with people my age, or 18 I guess. The first night we watched half of Aladdin and Julie Ann made dinner, and then I got them to come jogging and we watched Brokeback Mountain. With Heath Ledger and Jake Gylenhall.. Anyways! I'm inspired to do a gap year now, like they are. Living by yourself and having that independence, not to mention the experience of a new country before college. Although I'm only 15.. definitely a bit before college.
Other happenings. I tried jogging by my house in Tharua and got chased down by a pack of dogs, but luckily I didn't have to kick any of them and risk getting rabies
Final note; I bought 5 apples from Washington today :) They're delicious.