Thai Factory Market in Setouchi Asia Village
I made a grave mistake. Please, if you’re in Takamatsu, don’t make it too.
When I introduced Thai Factory Market and the Setouchi Asia Village a few days ago, I didn’t look at the dates. I just assumed that it was going to be all along the Summer session of the Setouchi Triennale 2016.
My original plan was to go once or twice a week, introducing things little by little, as I become more familiar with them and the people involved.
Well, that won’t happen this way, because it’s ending on Sunday, August 7th!
Yes, that’s in three days!
So, if you haven’t been yet, do not miss it, or you will regret it.
And, let me introduce it to you again in a few more details.
So, Thai Factory Market is exactly what the name says: it has to do with Thailand. It’s a factory, or at least a bunch of tiny workshops. It’s also a market.
In another words, it is a place where a certain number of Thai craftsmen and craftswomen introduce some aspects of their country’s traditional culture and showcase their skills and crafts. Oh and it’s also a market, which means that you can buy all the things that are being made there.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without one man who is the driving force behind the project. He’s a familiar of this blog, as he’s an artist who has had art exhibited at the Setouchi Triennale both in 2010 and 2013. I’m talking about Takashi Nishibori. We met in 2013 when he was doing a project for Bengal Island.
When I saw the list of artists for this year, I wondered why he wasn’t on it. Then, when I learned that this year’s guest country for the Summer session was going to be Thailand, I assumed that he’d have to be there one way or another. And this is indeed the case, but he’s not here as an artist, but as an organizer. He’s the one who went all over Thailand to “recruit” all those very talented people who keep the traditions of their country alive.
So we met with him this afternoon, and he showed us around and explained a few things.
This man makes traditional masks representing Thai mythological characters. While they could be worn by actors (if I’m correct) in traditional plays, nowadays their main purpose is decoration. While they’re pretty common all over Thailand, most of them are now mass produced. There are very few people left who still do them by hand. This gentleman does.
Thai umbrellas, while very similar in design to Japanese umbrellas have much richer decoration and ornamentation (that’s a constant with Thai arts and crafts). Note that while the craftspeople are making completely traditional objects, they also are free to make more contemporary ones. Their craft is not frozen in time and evolves constantly. It’s very well alive.
Next, these two young men are making and painting some quite amazing masks.
Impressive wood sculptures:
Painting miniature boats:
There are also some dance demonstrations:
It reminds me of Weaving Weaving, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Those sculpted potteries are all sorts of amazing. Stop and think a minute how they are made. It starts as normal potteries, but then they need to be sculpted before the clay gets dry!
Hmong women making traditional purses and bags.
What is that wheel? Or rather what are those yellow thing?
If you’ve never seen how silk is made, there is your chance. I had never touched unprocessed (?) before. Pretty interesting how it is not soft at first.
Notice how the pattern of her work is actually upside down, so she doesn’t actually sees the details as she makes it. It’s all about know-how.
Sculpted and decorated soap!
Yes, the tuk-tuk made it all the way from Thailand.
Now, here is the thing. It will never return to its home country. Why? Because on Sunday evening, at 5pm, it will be sold as well as everything else!
Yes, on Sunday evening you can own a piece of Thailand. Some of the smaller products can be bought at any time, but briefly before Thai Factory Market closes its doors for good on Sunday night, a big sale will be organized where you can buy anything and everything, even the furniture.
Here is a small sample of what you can get:
Personally, I’m really interested in getting a “triangle pillow”. I remember when I used to live in Paris, my roommate, who often goes to Thailand, had brought some back to France and they’re awesome.
Thanks a lot Nishibori-san for this guided visit. I’ll probably see you again this week-end if only for a few minutes, and hopefully in three years too for a new project.
So remember, if you have some free time until Sunday, you know where to go: to Sunport Takamatsu to visit Thai Factory Market!