I bet you never thought I would be showing you pictures of my trip to Bangkok over the holidays! I was gone for most of the last two weeks and don't have much else to show you. And what I am working on in the studio, well, I just don't want to show you yet. There are a couple things that I won't show you until they are ready to sell. And some of them will only be available in Zanesville. Mysterious, huh? You'll see why eventually. So I am going to just show you pictures that depict ceramics in Thailand in one aspect or another. I am sorry I did not really concentrate on taking pictures of the ceramics of Thailand. Below are just random shots that happen to show some ceramics.

The first pic is of some tiles around the King's Palace. There is probably a mile of this sort of tile on the gounds. Heavily Chinese influenced. I wonder if they were made in China?

Next is a shot of one of the temples on the Palace grounds. 3D ceramic and glass decoration.

Check out these guys. I was trying to figure out where I could get one of these guards. Actually, I bought some things back that were similiar. (And of similiar size!)

This stupa is an hour and a half outside of Bangkok and it is entirely covered in a tan tile. The entire building- and the surrounding structures that you can't see in the pic- are totally covered in the same tile. Remember Thailand never even gets close to freezing so all the buildings with tile and glass mosaic are not subject to the stress of cold weather and are very stable. This building which is sealed- and has another stupa inside that is sealed -contains some of the ash of the Buddha.

The following planters were some of the most beautiful I saw. And there are a lot of beautiful pots in Thailand! Many of these large pots are filled with water and have lotus growing in them. Again, no weather stress.

Thailand is an agrarian culture and pottery serves a purpose more that it does in the States. Functional pottery is beautiful and everywhere. Below is a pot that just holds water so you can wash the sand off your feet when you come off the beach. It sits atop a palm tree stump and has a cute wooden lid and a coconut shell ladle aside it that stores in a length of bamboo stuck in the sand. A beautiful and simple arrangement.

Next are a couple pictures of "Bencharong" pottery. It is an intensly decorated, five color porcelain pot particular to Thailand. I picked up a small piece- the blue one-for 10 bucks. I should have bought one of the killer monster pieces that you can buy for 3 to 4 hundred dollars. I am sorry to say I looked at a zillion of the high end pieces and didn't take one picture of them. The second blue one is more typical. The best pieces of Bencharong I saw depicted life in Thailand with very intricate painting all over the pot. I'll get one of those yet and show it to you. (And I don't mean a picture, I mean a pot.)

Sorry I don't have a better show for you. I didn't even take a picture of the pot you see EVERYWHERE in Thailand called a dragon pot. But let me tell you a bit about Thailand and why it is special.

Buddhism. It's 95% Buddist. And it shows throughout the culture. It is an inward facing belief and everyone is concerned about finding the proper "WAY". The people smile and are calm and polite. You get a sense that there is a wonderful equality. It feels like the safest place I have ever been.

It is hot. Christmas is their winter and it was warm and sticky. You wanted to walk in the shade.

It is very cheap and 50 cents goes a long way. A metered taxi cross town is a buck and half. An incredible mass transit system and a subway currently being built- all day pass is $2.50. Bangkok is crowded- 10 million- but clean. You don't have to worry about eating any of the food, but you do drink bottled water. The food is wonderful and you can eat a meal on the street for a buck. Or sit in a Thai resturant for three dollars. Foreign dinners are maybe 7 bucks. A five star hotel is 120 a night and it is very luxurious. You can get nice hotels for 25 a night. And all lodging includes breakfast. There is fruit everywhere. Incredible fruit. On the street you can buy a whole pineapple cut up and ready to eat for 30 cents. You can live comfortably in Bangkok for 35 dollars a day or luxuriously for 150 a day.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. The king and queen are revered and loved and it is obvious the king is devoted solely to the people. And they to him. He is an innovator and I believe has an agricultural background. He is introducing new farming techniques- fish and shrimp farming as well as chicken and hog farming. Handicrafts are a large part of the economy. It is a shopper's paradise- espiecally for women if you like clothes. WOW.

I would recommend it to anyone. It is a wonderful place. I'll be back and next time I am going to do the ceramics tour around the country.

Next update, I promise I'll show you some studio activity.