Bangles, not bombs
To my regular readers who are wondering what has happened to my posts involving recycling and making stuff out of crap, today’s post is still about my trip to Laos – but just happens to be about recycling too. I visited Ban Napia in Xieng Khouang province, which someone else has written about here – basically this place took a battering during the Secret War but the villagers are using aluminium bomb casings and scrap metal to make things like spoons and bangles.
This is one of the villagers who works in aluminium, Mr Phet, at the entrance to his property. The pole he is leaning against is actually a bomb casing!
Once the spoon has cooled she unties the two sides of the mould and knocks the spoon out. Simple process, but there’s a high rate of rejection! The failures just get thrown back into the pit to be melted down again.
They also make chopsticks and bangles which you can see here with some sample bombs (which are of course no longer dangerous!).
I spent a while with Mr Phet and his wife, with my guide, Ken, interpreting. I’ve designed some jewellery and they will be making the samples from the scrap metal. I also bought some bangles from them and once I start up my online store, you’ll be able to find them there (before I visited Ban Napia I bought about 20 bangles for myself from the night market stall in Vientiane which is a lot easier to find than Mr Phet’s house!).
Ken also took me round the Plain of Jars sites – kind of like Laos’ version of Stonehenge.
They are huge jars made out of stone that is not found anywhere near where the jars are currently, which is actually many locations in the area. What were they used for? Burial? Making whisky? No one knows. Got to love a mystery!
Ohh, your online STORE?!!! How exciting! I'm so envious of your adventures, I'm still stuck here writing my tired thesis…
Wow, 1,000 spoons a day? That's incredible! I am loving those ancient stone jars, too, with all their mysteries.
Omg I'm so excited to see this!! I went to Vientiane's night market in January and bought like 10 bangles for myself and friends and I so wanted to buy more but ran out of time and kip (AND dollars). I couldn't stop thinking about it! At first I wasn't quite sure wearing (what was once) a piece of mass destruction on myself but now the bangle is currently my favourite piece of jewellery. I was just thinking of emailing them to buy more and have it sent over. But looks like we can get from you! How exciting!!!! x Rach
And also to see your designs :))))
Pingback: Sshhh… Wilderness Bazaar is here! | Style Wilderness