Just outside of Chiang Mai is Bo Sang and the village is famous for its umbrellas and parasols. Bo Sang umbrella makers have been practicing the art form for more than two centuries. Bo Sang umbrellas are typically made with using Saa paper (from the bark of the mulberry tree), but can also been seen in silk and cotton.
We visited late in the afternoon, so it was already quiet. Only a few other tourists were at the village. Our guide dropped us off at the side of the building and we walked alongside to the courtyard. You walk clockwise around the courtyard to witness the different stages of the umbrella making process.
It starts with the paper making, from the bark of the mulberry tree.
Then the frame is being made, from bamboo struts that are cut and tied together by hand.
Then string is added, so the paper can be attached. This lady was so skilled in adding the string to the frame, it took her just a couple of seconds per frame.
Once the string had been added, the paper is attached and the umbrella is left out to dry. Once it is dry it is either just being folded and packed away, or it is being hand painted and then later packed away.
The artists in the Handicraft Centre are also willing to paint a variety of beautiful designs on items that bring with you – from a t-shirt to a handbag, a purse or even a phone case. Although the prices are extremely reasonable, we just watched the artists paint their parasols and then we left, without any decorations on our clothes or items. I guess we were overwhelmed with choice!
There is a large shop attached to the Bo Sang Handicraft Centre, which sells a huge variety of painted umbrellas and parasols along with other locally made handicraft products.