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At the end of Term 1, students in BISP’s IGCSE and IB Visual Arts classes attended Chiang Mai Design Week 2023 for a four-day immersion in practical and visual experiences. This cultural event proved to be a delightful blend of creativity, tradition and contemporary expression.

The Chiang Mai Art Trip kicked off at the bustling All Day Craft Market, where local artisans showcased their talents, offering a diverse array of handcrafted and contemporary pieces. The vibrant atmosphere set the tone for the students’ exploration of Chiang Mai’s creative landscape. Following this, the group visited “The Kalm Village Lifestyle Store,” hosting pop-up exhibitions, including a captivating showcase of traditional weaving methods transformed into contemporary furniture. The exhibition “Colour Lives” featuring Suwan Kongkhunthian’s work provided a visually stimulating experience for the students.

Inspired by the artistic immersion of the first day, the students tried their hands at Pottery on the second day. Under the guidance of Khun Jirawong, a familiar artist in residence, the group experimented with the pottery wheel, honing their throwing techniques and exploring hand-built methods. A delightful lunch featuring the local favourite Khao Soi preceded a visit to The Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, offering a diverse range of visual art, design, fashion and engaging educational programmes.

Day three unfolded as a tapestry of cultural experiences, beginning with the awe-inspiring Wat Ban Den Temple and concluding at a local Cotton Farm. Here, students engaged in a Textile Workshop, discovering the art of tie-dying in unique patterns by manipulating their fabric. The hands-on experience added a new layer of appreciation for traditional techniques.

The final day brought the students to Have a Hug Studio, where they delved into a Ceramic Workshop. Shaping clay with their hands, they expressed themes and inspiration drawn from their Chiang Mai journey. The immersive nature of the workshops turned the galleries into more than destinations, creating unforgettable hands-on experiences.

The students’ voices echoed their enthusiasm for the trip. Comments such as “Educational, fun, hands-on, cultural, relaxing,” and “Fantastic, creative, friendly, bonding experience” highlighted the positive impact of Chiang Mai Design Week on their artistic development.

Beyond the workshops and exhibitions, the students also enjoyed the evenings spent hanging out with friends. Exploring vibrant night markets and having the freedom to sketch added a personal touch to the trip. Galleries and workshops transformed into immersive experiences, and the joy of shopping for ceramics and exploring local flavours in the night markets enriched their understanding and appreciation of Chiang Mai’s creative culture.

Throughout the trip, the students’ sketchbooks were filled with memories, capturing the essence of a journey that not only enhanced artistic skills but also left a lasting impression on the hearts of the students. Chiang Mai Design Week proved to be a great source of inspiration, creativity, tradition, and deeper bonds forged through shared experiences.