New Tibetan Center in Hamburg, Germany

Today I would like to present to you the new Tibetan Center in Hamburg, Germany. I know this topic is not about Thailand. However, it relates to Buddhism in general. The Tibetan Center, under the patronage of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, has just recently opened a new location in Hamburg City (Güntherstr. 39, HH-Hohenfelde).

Tibetisches Zentrum, Guentherstrasse 39 in Hamburg, photo: tibet.de

Tibetisches Zentrum, Güntherstrasse 39 in Hamburg, photo: tibet.de

I am happy about that because this center is actually very close to my place and I am looking forward to stopping by for evening meditation now and then.

New Tibetan Center in Hamburg-City

New Tibetan Center in Hamburg-City

Well, some of you might know that I practice Vipassana in the tradition of Ajahn Tong, which is a meditation technique in the Theravada tradition. I am not about to switch or mix up my meditation practice but I think some additional Samatha and Metta meditation cannot be wrong.

Buddhaimage at the Tibetan Center, Hamburg

Buddhaimage at the Tibetan Center, Hamburg

Last Sunday I went to visit the center and I must say that it is really a very nice, neat and peaceful place. Just an ideal location for meditation! I recall that about 12 years ago I did a weekly course about Buddhist Psychology at the Tibetan Center in Farmsen-Berne. This was actually my first course in Buddhism and also the first formal Buddhist meditation practice that I did.

Time for meditation at the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

Time for meditation at the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

On open day last weekend, Tibetan monks performed some rituals among these were the creation of a sand mandala followed by the ritual destruction of it. When I arrived at the center, the mandala had already been completed. I think that creating this kind of mandala from fine coloured sand is a very meditative act and the monks also put their metta and well wishes into this work of art. I have learned that the mandala is for visualizing the Buddha Avalokiteshvara, who is generally known as the Buddha of universal compassion.

Sand mandala on the opening day of the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

Sand mandala on the opening day of the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

However, there is a lot more symbolism to the mandala but in short, it stands for impermanence and the transitory nature of material life. I also got to witness the ritual destruction of the sand mandala which is a highly ceremonial act.

Tibetan monks and the ritual around the destruction of the sand mandala

Tibetan monks and the ritual around the destruction of the sand mandala

Destruction of the sand mandala

Destruction of the sand mandala

The deity syllables are removed in a specific order along with the rest of the geometry. Once the mandala has been completely dismantled, the sand is collected in a jar which is then wrapped in silk and brought to a river. Hence, we went to the nearby Kuhmühlenteich which is close to the Alster lake. There the monks released the sand into the water and thus back into nature. This symbolizes life’s transitoriness and impermanence of the world in general.

Tibetan monks, going to the nearby river at Kuhmühlenteich, Hamburg

Tibetan monks, going to the nearby river at Kuhmühlenteich, Hamburg

Tibetan monk releases sand from the mandala into the water

Tibetan monk releases sand from the mandala into the water

Summing up, I may say that it was a very interesting and uplifting afternoon at the new Tibetan Center in Hamburg-City. I will defintely stop by there for meditation and I am also curious about other courses or seminars relating to meditation practice.




Photoshooting with Thai Fabric Jewelry

It’s been quite a while since my small handicraft shop ‘Sirinya Ann’s Atelier’ has been active. I first started out handcrafting items from Thai fabric in 2013. I don’t sell anymore but I still enjoy wearing the articles myself. Thus, recently I’ve had the idea to wear an extravagant collar necklace for a photoshoot. It turned out amazing and unique. I really love wearing jewelry that I created myself and that nobody else has.

Thai Fabric Jewelry

Sirinya wearing a colllar necklace made from Thai fabric

Sirinya wearing a colllar necklace made from Thai fabric

I realized that this kind of diy jewelry is truly amazing for giving an extravagant touch to any outfit. Though by now I’ve nearly run out of my crafting materials from Thailand, I still very much love creating accessories and jewelry with traditional Thai fabric.

En Vogue with a statement necklace made from Thai brocade

En Vogue with a statement necklace made from Thai brocade

 

Fashionshoot with Thai brocade necklace

Fashionshoot with Thai brocade necklace

I wish I had more access to these fabics but living in Germany, they are hard or even impossible to obtain. In this context, I’m also reminded of the Siamese fashionista, a trend that came up about four years ago. I recall that was a group that tried to maintain the way Siamese people dressed in prior centuries. I’m not sure what has become of this group and if traditional Thai clothing has become a dress that can be worn on any occasion. However, I very much like the idea of dressing in the traditonal Thai way. Crafting small items from Thai fabric has been my way to relate to this trend.

Wearing Thai fabric jewelry

Wearing Thai fabric jewelry

Finally, all I can say to finish off this little post, is that I’d really love to wear a traditional Thai dress and also that I’d like to have more fabrics of this kind for crafting.




Coconut Oil: My Favourite Natural Beauty Product

Thai traditional Thai beauty products and also Thai food often contain coconut oil which can be considered one of the best natural oils. Coconut oil has numerous health benefits and it is also my favourite natural beauty product. Thus, it is great for all parts of the body and for general health. Organic extra virgin coconut oil has many properties. Thus, it is a multipurpose product for face, body, hair and also for food. For example, coconut oil can be used as a make up remover, in particular for removing eye make up. However, I think the oil is comedogenic which means that it may cloak the pores. Thus, I recommend to only use it as an eye make up remover.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut broken into halves (photo Robert Wetzlmeyr, wikimedia.com)

Coconut broken into halves (photo Robert Wetzlmeyr, wikimedia.com)

Nevertheless, coconut oil is very gentle to the skin and thus particularly suitable for dry and sensitive skin types. That is to say, coconut oil is very nourishing to the gentle eye area and also strengthens the eyelashes. Hence, it can also function as an eye cream and as a lip balm. Thus, I think that coconut oil is a good facial cleanser for dry and sensitive skin. This is also known as the oil cleansing method. Personally though, I do not like to use coconut oil as a facial cleanser because of my oily skin.

Coconut everbeautiful.com

Coconuts (photo: everbeautiful.com)

What is more, coconut oil  is also useful as a hair conditioner and mask because it has the ability to fully penetrate the hair shaft and thus moisturize the hair thoroughly. It works best as a pre-shampoo conditioner. Distribute the coconut oil evenly throughout your hair and leave it in for about an hour or overnight. Then shampoo your hair and you will have the smoothest hair ever 🙂 Another option to use coconut oil as a hair conditioner is to do a gradual oiling: put a small amount of oil into the ends each day until the next shampooing.

Alnatura Coconut Oil (photo Sirinya Pakditawan)

Alnatura Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (photo: Sirinya Pakditawan)

In addition, coconut oil can also perform as a natural deodorant because it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. What is more, you can also make a coconut oil body scrub by mixing equal parts of coconut oil with brown organic sugar. Scrub away and this will leave your skin sooo soft 🙂

Alnatura organic coconut oil (photo Sirinya Pakditawan)

Alnatura organic coconut oil can be used for cooking but also for body and hair care (photo: Sirinya Pakditawan)

Last but not least, coconut oil also is a beneficial body moisturizer: it makes your skin amazingly soft and glowing. In addition, coconut oil also has a natural sunscreen (SPF 4). As far as food is concerned, coconut oil can be used for cooking and baking. A small amount of coco oil also makes a nice ingredient in porridge, tea and hot chocolate.

Hei Poa (Pur Monoi Tahiti Oil) with coconut scent (photo Sirinya Pakditawan)

Hei Poa (Pur Monoi Tahiti Oil) with coconut scent is a great product for body & hair care (photo: Sirinya Pakditawan)

I use organic coconut oil by Alnatura which is available here in Germany. For body and haircare I particularly recommend the marvellous Hei Poa (Pur Monoi Tahiti Oil) with coconut scent. Hei Poa is not a pure coconut oil but I find that it is even more suitable for body care that pure coconut oil. There are different varieties of the Hei Poa oil with different ingredients. I found out that Hei Poa (Pur Monoi Tahiti Oil) with coconut scent has the best ingredients since it only contains coconut oil, fragrance, gardenia tahitensis flower extract and tocopherol. Other varieties may also contain alcohol for instance.

Thai brand Paradise Coconut Oil Hair Conditioner (photo: paradisecoconutoil.com)

Thai brand Paradise Coconut Oil Hair Conditioner (photo: paradisecoconutoil.com)

Finally, I can say that coconut oil is my favourite natural beauty product because it is versatile and thus a multipurpose oil. I know that in Thailand there are many great products containing coco oil. For example, the brand ‘Paradise’ offers amazing beauty products with organic coconut oil 🙂

Yours, Sirinya




Thai Beetle Wing Art and Decoration

Thai beetle wing art and decoration was very popular in Thailand. It was primarily used as decoration on royal clothing such as shawls and sabai cloths but also on jewelry. However, the ancient tradition of using Thai beetle wings has mostly died out in Thailand. Nevertheless, at the Dusit Palace there are some rare pieces of Thai beetle wing art and craft and jewelry displayed.

Thai beetle wing art

A modern take on beetle wing art - asymmetric earrings (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry)

A modern take on beetle wing art – asymmetric earrings (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry, FB page)

Me wearing beautiful beetlewing earings by 3rd Rock jewelry

Me wearing beautiful beetlewing earings by 3rd Rock Jewelry

In fact, at the Grand Palace, HM Queen Sirikit discovered old royal cloths that were embroidered with bug wing. Thus, HM Queen Sirikit set up the bug wing decoration-collage section at the Chitralada Center in order to preserve and honour this traditional art.

thai dolls carved from ivory wood with beetle wing decoration

Thai dolls carved from ivory wood with beetle wing decoration (photo credit: Charassri Nualsri on Pinterest)

HM Queen Sirikit’s intention was to create new works of art with the ancient tradition of using beetle wing. For example, beetle wings were tried in decorating sculpture and wood carvings. Another example is that multicolored fine strips of beetle wings were woven into yan lipao pieces such as basketry.

Thai beetle wing art

Thai beetle wing art (photo credit: Chitralada Center)

However, let me tell you something more about the bug used for this special art technique:

Beetle wings are the wings of the insect belonging to the genus Sternocera which is called malaeng thap in Thai. The beetle wings are very beautiful because they have an iridescent green and bluish surface. Hence, the beetle wings shine like emeralds and thus, this kind of beetle is also called ‘jewel beetle’.

beetle wing, jewel beetle

The beetle-wing, jewel beetle shines like an emerald (photo credit: Xufanc, Wikimedia.org)*

Since these bugs have a short life span, they are available in abundance and can be collected when they are dead. Then, the bugs’ wings are clipped off and used as sequins for embroidery and jewelry.

Natural material for making jewelry (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry, FB page)

Natural material for making jewelry (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry, FB page)

The life circle of the beetle wing starts on the rainy season which is called khao phansa (rains retreat) in Thai. The beetles die off after having laid their eggs in the period ending the rainy season. Therefore, the bugs’ alternative name is “malaeng khao phansa” in Thai which means ‘rains retreat insect’. The dead beetles are collected, thus their ecosystem remains intact and is not disturbed. In addition, HM Queen Sirikit had research conducted on the life cycle of the jewel beetle in order to ensure its conservation in nature.

Green and orange iridescent shades (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry)

Green and orange iridescent shades (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry, FB page)

I love my new jewel beetle earrings

I love my new jewel beetle earrings

Most of the wing pieces are an iridescent emerald color. However, you might notice that some wing pieces look slightly orange. This orange shade is in fact quite rare and only found in one out a few hundred beetles. What is special about Thai beetle wing art is that it is extremely durable. Thus, the natural shine of the beetle wings remain for decades and even centuries.

Necklace with jewel beetle (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry, FB page)

Necklace with jewel beetle (photo credit: 3rd Rock Jewelry, FB page)

HM Queen Sirikit has also used Thai beetle wing decoration on her clothing and shoes 🙂 Today, her granddaughter who is a prominent Thai fashion designer, Princess Sirivannavari, also draws on traditional Thai craftsmanship.

Here are some very beautiful and awesome examples:

gold thread and beetle-wing embroidery on Thai silk queen sirikit museum of textiles

Gold thread and beetle wing embroidery on Thai silk*

 

queen sirikit shoes

The left pair of shoes has a beetle wing decoration on the front Queen Sirikit Shoes*

 

(*Photo credit: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles)

Do you like Thai beetle wing art and decoration and would you wear it as jewelry or as sequins on clothes? I think beetle wings are a very good alternative to plastic sequins and beads because they come from nature. What is more, beetle wings allow people to admire and cherish the natural beauty of the jewel beetle 🙂

Yours, Sirinya




Sirinya Ann’s Atelier: Art & Crafts

Maybe you’ve already noticed that I have a small handicraft shop here called ‘Sirinya Ann’s Atelier’. I’ve started this shop at DaWanda about two years ago and have added some articles from time to time since then. Everything you find in this store is handcrafted by myself 🙂

For instance, here are some of my handcrafted items:

Sirinya Ann's Atelier: collar necklace with Thai fabric

Sirinya Ann’s Art Atelier: collar necklace with Thai fabric

Clutch decorated with Thai fabric, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Clutch decorated with Thai fabric, Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Collar necklace with Thai brocade Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Collar necklace with Thai brocade Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Hair barrette made from Thai brocade, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Hair barrette made from Thai brocade, Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

In my shop you find extravagant and extraordinary accessories, hair accessories, fascinators and jewellery made from Thai fabic, silk, brocade, satin, pearls, rhinestones or other similar materials. The fabrics are chosen with care and most of them I bring with me from my travels to Thailand. Sometimes opulent or sometimes subtle, my products have an extraorinary exotic touch.
From time to time, I also offer Vintage articles in my shop.

You see, I very much enjoy crafting accessories and jewellery with traditional Thai fabric simply because the material is so special and extraordinary.

Hairband with Thai brocade appliques

Hairband with Thai brocade appliques

collar necklace made from Thai fabric, brocade from Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Collar necklace made from Thai fabric, brocade from Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Recently, I’ve also tried to do some decoupage art using copies of Chakrabhand Posayakrit’s marvellous paintings. In my tribute to this Thai artist, I’ve already shown you some of my decoupage art.

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Decoupage art with Buddha image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

At the moment I have discontinued my shop but if there is any interest, please let me know in the comments and I will reopen Sirinya Ann’s Atelier at DaWanda or Etsy 🙂

Yours, Sirinya