We were at Home Depot one weekend over a year ago and I saw a big stack of 1×1 beetle kill sticks from the side. I thought it looked really neat, almost like tie-dyed wood, and had the bright idea that we were going to make a coffee table out of them. Dave probably should have shot down this idea based on how much work it would entail. Luckily, he’s one patient husband and we ended up with an awesome coffee table about a year later.
We bought a few sticks, some nicely finished beetle kill for the frame and a piece of plywood. We started slicing the sticks using a saw we borrowed from Dave’s stepdad. Unfortunately, the saw had to go back before we could finish the enormous task of slicing a gazillion quarter inch tiles out of the sticks. Soooo the project was paused for about a year until we finally gave in and bought our own saw. Then Dave resumed the slicing!
Once we had enough wood tiles, I glued them onto the plywood with wood glue. Dave added a nice frame to the side. I painted a few coats of clear finish on top and we attached some blue hairpin legs to finish it off.
Voilà, the coffee table that took a year to build is finally complete!
In the past few years I’ve been in and out of many, many temples and can’t help but be mesmerized by the stunning artwork covering the inner and outer walls of each and every one. Every temple, even ones that are only one block away from each other, have a different look to them and I’ve taken to photographing the beautiful art at each one I visit. I hope to use my large collection of temple art pictures as inspiration for something one day.
I had always wondered how the artwork was made and how long it took, so I was ecstatic to discover Yensabai Book & Art in Luang Prabang, Laos that offers traditional stencil making classes. For 120,000 Kip (15 USD) we were taught how to properly cut the stencils out of handmade paper with straight and curved chisels on a plank of wood. Over a span of two hours Dave and I hammered away while occasionally sipping on Lao green tea (for me) and Lao coffee (for Dave). It was a very cathartic experience and we not only walked away with a better understanding of how much work goes into decorating a Buddhist Temple, but also two pieces of awesome art.
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