25.4.11: Lacquerware Factory & Gems Factory

We visited the lacquerware factory, also in the Sankamphaeng Road in Chiang Mai. Lacquerware are decorative objects which are covered with lacquer. I had always thought that lacquer was transparent, like the ones that can be found in spray paint cans which look similar to varnish. I was surprised to find that lacquer was black. It is actually an ancient art of decorating objects with several layers of lacquer. 

Explaining what lacquer is used for

Tiny and intricate designs are painted onto the wooden elephant, which is then painted over in lacquer. There were also gold leaves pasted onto the objects which were then painted in lacquer. 
These were designed with tiny eggshells which are then pasted  onto the object. I was amazed. It really needs a lot of time and patience. 

After that, we went to the Gems Factory. The Gems Factory tour started with a short video presentation in a darkened room. Halfway during the video presentation, E fell asleep and we decided to leave him in the van with the guide and driver.Then we went into the work area where we could observe workers carving images out of crystal rocks. We weren't allowed to take any pictures of the workers working. Each worker sat under a light and wore a name tag around his neck. It was not an easy task to make images from these rocks. One has to be skilful and patient to slowly carve out shapes. There were also Buddha of Kwan Yin images made from these crystal / gemstones. I find that people in Chiang Mai were very artistic and skilful with their arts and crafts.

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