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On the Map 2021, #4 Studio Chiangdao Blue

This is a story about Siripohn Sansirikul's indigo journey in Thailand and resonates with her life motto "paint your life indigo" at the Studio Chiangdao Blue.

1. Address / Location

All photos were submitted by Siripohn Sansirikul

My name is Siripohn Sansirikul. I’m Thai.

I work with natural dye at Studio Chiangdao Blue located in the Chiangdao, a small town located close to Burma’s border.

I'm in the Chiangdao district, 75 km. away from downtown Chiangmai.

Mt.Chiangdao is the 3rd highest mountain in Thailand and a major landmark of my region. There are also several ethnic groups living in Chiangdao; for example, the Mhong, Lisu, Karen, and Akha hill tribes.

As Chiangdao is one of Thailand’s major watershed forest, local

communities have a high consciousness of preserving nature in our region. Farming is a major source of income for the local people. Lushly green and rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, Chiangdao is famous for several kinds of fruit orchards like oranges, longan, mangos, avocados, plum, strawberry, garlic, and green leaves for salad. This region is also the origin for backstrap weaving among the Karen & Dara Ang people.

I moved here just about 3 years. My studio is located in a small village called Ban Muang Kong, about 5 km. from downtown. I selected this village as my home and workplace because of the panoramic view of Mt.Chiangdao from my studio. This was one of the most important reasons as every day is a direct connection to the mountain... an essential living environment for me. I live here with my 86 year-old-mother, who needs close care as she can’t walk on her own, and my husband. My husband is Japanese and travels between Thailand and Japan. I used to live in Hokkaido, Japan for 13 years after getting married. Spending my life in Japan was a turning point for me in getting involved in the garment business which later on led me to indigo dyeing here in Chiangdao.

I love Chiangdao because it enables me to spend my daily life exactly as I dreamed. I can spend time with my mother, enjoy cooking my own meals, and indigo dyeing. I can explore indigo work as deeply as I wish, starting from seedlings. Planting indigo unexpectedly gives me a chance to explore another new world of soil, water, plants, and the influences of each season. These kinds of things are so new to me and make my heart, brain, and senses excited! It deepens my true gratefulness towards the nature around me. For me, this is truly the original value of living.

2) Indigo Plants & Practice

I grow 2 kinds of indigo, Indigofera tinctoria & Strobilanthes cusia. I will include Japanese indigo as the 3rd one since it also grows quite well here in Chiangmai (my first trial on growing JI last year during the rainy season was good enough to continue).

Indigofera tinctoria