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Southeast of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand is Bo Sang, known throughout the country as the ’umbrella village'. It is mainly a tourist market filled with craft shops selling painted umbrellas (often produced elsewhere), fans, silverware, statuary, celadon pottery and lacquerware.
In this village there are many workshops and hundreds of umbrellas of every size, shape, and color with gorgeous hand-painted designs of dragons, flowers, birds and scenery.

Visitors watched the artisans as they followed the steps to create their umbrellas. It was like an assembly-line beginning with making each of the parts to the drawing station, sundry station and finally the finished umbrella. These umbrellas were prepared with bamboo strips composing the framework and the handle, latex for the varnish, and other natural products.

The Sa paper was specially made from the stems of the Mulberry tree bark for the umbrella's "sail". The complex process begins with soaking the bark in water for 24 hours then boil with wood-ash until it was soft and continuing to boil the mixture from three to four hours. After rinsing the bark, the mixture is pounded and placed in large water filled concrete trays. The artisan stirs and releases the mixture through a strainer into rectangular metal screens and dry it in the sun for 20 minutes. The substance forms wafer-thin paper.

Each layer of the paper was pasted on the umbrella frames with glue until it became thick and strong then after drying, the artists painted their designs. These umbrellas ranged from small for cocktail glasses to larger sizes for gardens or patios.

I liked the graphic effect of the umbrellas piled up here waiting for their turn, to be painted.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7754 W: 324 N: 15606] (55035)
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