What the Thai cave rescue tells us about “Mai pen rai” - Moo Baa the Wild Pigs is the name of the children’s soccer team stuck in Yellow Cave in Thailand. My heart is with the children and their parents as the experts weigh the best time and manner to remove them from the cave. But this incident seems to illustrate many positive aspects of the Thai character and as they work through this human disaster that we all hope will have a happy ending it seems a good time to talk about it. The children spent nine days in a cave with no light, now they have light. I am not sure when the last flicker of a flashlight was, and it really does not matter. Yet when met by the […]
Green Touch: Asia Eco Craft Design Exhibition - “” Green Touch: Asia Eco Craft Design Exhibition explores the philosophy and implementation of eco design in contemporary craftsmanship. Highlighting the spirits of “local sourcing” and “hand making” within the context of traditional crafts development, the exhibition tackles eco-friendly ideas in contemporary craftsmanship such as material research, production technology, development of multiple functions, as well as end-of-life product disposition, and illustrates how crafts are presented with ideal aesthetic form and functionality, leading to further discussions on the relationships of craft design, traditional culture and social economy. Because of geographic location and climate conditions, Taiwan and many Southeastern Asian countries are blessed with a variety of crafts materials and rich aesthetics. In 2014, during “M&O Asia”, we were very much […]
Garland #6 – Where’s your village? - For the March 2017 issue, we journey to Southeast Asia. We discovered two things about Thailand. First, three out of every four people live in a village, which continues to be an important source of inspiration and faith for designers and artists. But isn’t urbanisation inevitable? These stories help us reconsider the role of the village in the 21st century, perhaps even in our own country. Second, Thais are worldly: there are stories of exchange with Turkey, China, Myanmar, Laos, Japan and Australia. Words and images in this issue give us a glimpse of the creativity and values in Southeast Asia today, along with the usual mix of stimulating stories from around our region. And at the heart of it […]
From Prao to Melbourne – Lanna culture in the world - Prao village This story is a true memory from my childhood in 1987. I grew up in the village called Prao, a small village in the middle of forest and mountain, located in the northern of Thailand. It takes about one and a half hour to drive to the north from Chiang Mai City. The village does not consist of any big roads, shopping malls and fancy facilities. There are a lot of big rice fields everywhere, surrounded with green and beautiful scenery. At that time, most of the people still travelled by riding bicycles or walking, including me and my grandmother. My grandmother always took me everywhere with her bicycle. The location of my house is near to morning […]
Where is your village? - While villages can take radically different form depending on their host country—from the Indonesian kampung set in a lush valley to a hamlet off the coast of New Zealand’s south island—they do share a common difference from the ubiquitous city. Most people who live in a village are likely to know each other’s name. Relations are not as dependent on financial transactions: there is often collective work towards a community space, such as a temple (in Britain, a place must have a church to be called a “village”). And often there is a set of traditions associated with that place, including myths, rituals and craft skills that make the most of materials at hand.
Craft classic: Khao Tom Mud - Each year, the Thai craft organisation SACICT hosts the International Innovative Craft Fair in Bangkok. This is a wonderful destination for discovering the evolution of Thai craft. The Kanita coin purse inspired by the traditional Thai dessert is just one example of the new products emerging in Thailand from the love of its traditional culture.
Hanging issues: Collaboration between photography and Lana paper making - A Kurdish photographer, doing a PhD at Melbourne's RMIT University, learns paper making in a northern Thai village in order to realise the emotions of the images gathered from the conflict in the Middle East. Rushdi Anwar shares the thinking behind this unique artistic alchemy.
The colonisation of cute – exploring the work of Vipoo Srivilasa - Alice Pung is a successful author who has written poignant memoirs of her life growing up in western Melbourne as the daughter of a Chinese Cambodian refugee family. In this essay, she trains her literary sights on the Thai-born ceramicist Vipoo Srivilasa. What strikes her particularly about his work is the quality of cuteness, which is readily dismissed in a serious art world. Cuteness is a popular dimension in much Asian art. In this essay Pung explores the phenomenon of cuteness by immersing herself in the world of Vipoo's ceramics, even trying it herself in one of his workshops.
Quarterly essay – The colonisation of cute – exploring the work of Vipoo Srivilasa - Alice Pung has written poignant memoirs of her life growing up in western Melbourne as the daughter of a Chinese Cambodian refugee family. Unpolished Gem provoked this response from The Australian: “Pung makes everything she writes about shine”. And for the sequel, Her Father’s Daughter, The Monthly wrote, “Pung has an extraordinary story to tell and the finesse to bring it, most movingly to the page.” According to Delia Falconer, Pung is “Happily out of the ordinary”. In this essay, she trains her literary sights on the Thai-born ceramicist Vipoo Srivilasa. What strikes her particularly about his work is the quality of cuteness, which is readily dismissed in a serious art world. Cuteness is a popular dimension in much Asian art. In […]
From Thailand to Turkey: Ceramics bloom in Eskişehir - Sukumarl Leksawat (Tuk) is enchanted by the welcome in Turkey, where she finds many similarities with Thailand. The city of Eskişehir provides a site for Thai orchids to bloom in the Turkish sun.
The Rohingya story in Thailand, through embroidery - Jakkai Siributr travels to Switte, in the Rakhine province of Myanmar, where the Rohinga begin their journey as refugees. The embroideries that tell this story involve a conversation between different ethnic perspectives in contemporary Thailand.
Quest for the lost bronze casters: A journey to Ban Pa Ao - A dinner party conversation sets Rudee Tancharoen on a quest to find the lost casters of northern Thailand. She discovers an ancient village who welcomed her visit.
From gallery to temple: contemporary art for the Kra-tin ceremony - Watanya Siriwan offers her services as an artist for Kra-Tin, a ceremony to support a Buddhist temple by making clothes overnight, from harvesting cotton to assembling the garment. Her textile sculptures move between the gallery and the temple in a particularly Thai manner.
From Isan to Paris with silk and water hyacinth - M.l. Pawinee Sukhaswasdi Santisiri shares her journey to the northern province of Isan in her quest to develop products in silk and water hyacinth for the Paris market.
Can craft and design coexist in southeast Asia? - In 2016, the Craft Reveals conference in Thailand brought together key minds and hands to consider the future of craft. Sali Sasaki argues that the blinding effects of economic development in Southeast Asia should not take over the lucidity that is necessary to achieve a balanced coexistence between craft and design.
The road to Kilombu crosses many borders - “Strong eye contact and contemplative side glances take the viewer into the minds of my subjects, who often appear stoic and patient.” Welcome to Kilombu, an island nation where oppressed cultures, particularly from the tropics and global South, can build an independent nation. The Embassy of Kilombu has organised an exhibition in Bangkok at Atta Gallery of silver amulets, carved with Pa’som hieroglyphics promising spiritual power to the bearer. According to the embassy statement: It is widely thought that the intrigue surrounding the Azomanu, Earth god of the mysterious Kilombola, first inspired the trend for exotic Kilombu jewelry; particularly the amulets and Mbunzuvuko (sango Pa’som language, “evolution”, “enlightenment”) bracelets. In fact, the interest in Kilombu motifs wasn’t widespread until recently, […]
Launch of Thai issue in Melbourne - Join the crowd! Garland is very pleased to welcome you to the special launch of our Thai issue #6. Saturday 18 March 2017, 3-4pm Craft Victoria 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. RSVP by 13 March – Facebook or marigold(at)garlandmag.com.
For the love of Lao – Studio Naenna - Ansie van der Walt profiles Patricia Cheesman, the founder of Studio Naenna, a remarkable business that now provides work for weavers from northeast Thailand and Laos. It began when she was charmed by Laotian hospitality.
Thailand residency: A string of flowers – a sequence of events - "The freshness of the flowers is also key to the beauty of a Phuang Malai and I was also told you should not smell the Malai as the scent is reserved for the receiver." Jess Dare takes up a residency in Thailand to understand the culture of the garland. She faces a dilemma. How can a jeweller, how makes works of lasting value, respond to the culture of the garland which is so ephemeral?