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Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Wood Carving

In the highland city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, I recently photographed various artisans at work.

Here’s a series of my images taken in a furniture workshop. Skillful wood carvers chisel intricate relief scenes from blocks of teak to create screens, sculptures and elaborate chairs while other artisans inlay delicate mother-of pearl designs decorating rosewood tabletops and cabinets.

Check out my previous post Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Making Traditional Thai Parasols.

Carving a rural Thai scene in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving a rural Thai scene in teak

Wood carver's toolbox, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wood carver’s toolbox

Carving flowers in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving flowers in teak

Wood carver's tools, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wood carver’s tools

Carving in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving in teak

Carving in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving in teak

Carving in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving in teak

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood

Cutting mother-of-pearl for inlay, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Cutting mother-of-pearl designs for inlay

Carved wooden elephants on the back of a chair, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carved wooden elephants on the back of a chair

Beautiful, twisted tree trunk with wood carving scene behind, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Beautiful, twisted tree trunk with wood carving scene behind

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10 responses

  1. Stunning handiwork!

    July 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    • Yes, they’re very skillful! It’s incredible watching them carve scenes from a block of wood in front of your eyes!

      July 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm

  2. Tú puedes transportarme a un lugar extraordinario, un post maravilloso…

    July 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

    • Muchísimas gracias Cruz! Me encanta mirar los artesanos trabajando! Tengo más fotos todavía! Espero que todo esté bien contigo. Acabo de visitar tu blog pero los “posts” no se abren.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:41 am

  3. Lucy this is so beautiful! To see woodwork made by hand like this is incredible. Where do they sell the finished product? Too bad so much these days is machine made. What a pity.

    July 10, 2013 at 9:29 am

    • Nicole, it was incredible watching them create such beautiful pieces by hand. Very calming. I wish I’d taken more photos but it was the end of a long day of photography. The workshop was behind a showroom where they sold the products they made there.

      July 10, 2013 at 10:08 am

  4. Pingback: Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Thai Lacquerware | loca4motion

  5. Pingback: Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Thai Silk | loca4motion

  6. ega

    Sorry, can i know address about place in chiang mai for cutting mother of pearl like you share in your blog, thank you

    November 27, 2015 at 10:36 am

    • We went to various workshops just outside Chiang Mai but I never knew the addresses. There are many workshops around there so just ask or show photos of what you want to see and you will find them easily. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific. Good luck.

      November 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

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