Well that was an experience to say the least. Just come back from Chiang Mai where I did a wood carving course in a remote Thai village.
All paid for on my Bitcoin debit card…. Amazing how it works… I just transfer bitcoin to my wallet and use the debit card to pay for flights, goods in shops and best of all… draw cash out of any ATM all over the world. NO BANKS – Fantastic system.
So back to the Wood Carving course in Thailand … It was in a remote Thai Carvers village in the north of Thailand called Baan Tawai, which is full of Thai wood carving shops. In the surrounding area live about 300 individual Local Thai wood carvers who supply the shops. The village of Baan Tawai was a Thai Wood carving paradise and I have never seen so many incredible works of art in one place. This is where the rich Thais and tourists come to buy amazing works of art. I was told that some huge carvings took 10 years to make!!!
Nopphadols Wood Carving College
I did a 5 day course 17,500 Baht (can do 3 days for 12,500 B) and it included accommodation in the guest house (more pics below) Breakfast, Lunch and dinner by MasterCarver Nopphodol and by the way, he is also a Master Chef as the food was different everyday and really good. Also included was a set of 30 different wood carving chisels. The first day we decided what we were going to make and then he grabbed a piece of Teak wood and started drawing out the design. I was in awe as he started chiselling away and in minutes he had done what would have took me hours previously.
Then he says, OK you continue and walks away… ! I have a go but could not remember what tools he used to do the various cuts etc. The teaching in Asia is far different to what we are used to in the UK or Europe. In Asia they teach “learning by doing”. He also speaks little English but it was enough to understand what he wanted me to do etc. and general questions.
Anyway, he came back after an hour or so and looked at my mess… He simply smiled and picked up the chisels and in minutes had turned my complete mess into a work of art. Absolutely amazing… That first day was long (we did stop for lunch where he came back with some delicious Green Thai curry and rice) and we finished at 4.40 pm and he said diner was at 6 pm so I went for a walk to the village about 10 mins away. Dinner was even better than lunch and it was a different Thai dish every meal time. Breakfast was what he called “American Breakfast” eggs, toast, sausages, ham, tomatoes and fruit. As much tea, coffee, water or soft drinks as you like in the kitchen.
4 days later and my masterpiece was finished… (below)
I had gone from a novice amateurish carver previously trying to learn from YouTube videos to a real carver that can now take a piece of wood and make something unique, using all the tools I got to take home with me… A set of 30 hand forged carving chisels that they have probably been using for 100’s of years to make incredible works of art.
On the left are the 30 new chisels you get and on the right are Nopphodol’s chisels
Below are shots of the guesthouse, big pond full of fish at the back and surroundings
So if you’re coming on holiday to Thailand and want a bit of a different and unique life experience, why not do a 3 or 5 day wood carving course… More details here or email me for available dates as I am now in contact with him and can communicate via my wife who speaks his language.