The past several days I’ve been whittling little things out of mimosa branches from the vacant lot (somewhat vacant, there is actually a half-finished house there occupied by a mulberry-wine-brewing-bootlegger who happens to be in tight with the king) next door. The mimosa is soft, and has some pretty spalting, but unfortunately has a spongy pith in the center. This morning we took an epic journey from an organic farmers market, to a fancy super market, to a woodworking shop (specializing in doors and sashes), to a plywood warehouse, to a lumberyard, the last three places in search of some decent wood for carving. I’m not sure what we found exactly. It’s a blonde color, very dense, and the grain is nice and even. It cuts well, too--that being the most important part. Now I need a decent vice. The process of setting up a usable studio and finding material has been coming as a series of painful drips. Sometimes, just finding out if we can buy some wood requires a thirty-minute wait for someone who speaks English, since my Thai is limited to the phrases: I’m sorry, thank you, no thanks, hello/good-bye (same word), where, how much, and I don’t understand. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
On Sunday we took a walk in the evening and discovered, quite by accident, a textile workshop called Studio Naenna. They specialize in hand woven silk and cotton, and make a lot of their own vegetable dyes. We came back first thing Monday morning, and they showed some of the textiles they make, the looms they use, and the plants for dyeing. It reminded us a great deal of Tierra Wools in New Mexico. While we were there the staff told us to keep on walking up the road to a Boy Scout camp. It was unoccupied, to our relief, as it is home to a beautiful waterfall, which cascades down a basalt hilside. I poked around and looked at plants (I made off with an Alpinia purpurata and a tiny little Elettaria) while J soaked her feet.
That same day was the Monday market in our neighborhood. We bought pants for me, a shirt for J (I have a feeling she will write very soon about clothes), and reading glasses. For me. I’d been getting head aches while reading. So I got some nifty 1.00 fold-ups. I look like a regular Asian scholar now.
Oh, and just to remind you that we are still under martial law, I finally got a picture of a tank. The tanks are quite popular. This one was decked out with roses, and I even read that a couple here in Chiang Mai took their wedding pictures in front of a tank with soldiers.
The roses are hard to see, but there are two
sticking out of the top of the front panel.