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Forrest Taylor, USA, December 29th, 2017
I am so happy to have found Mr. Noppadols carving school. After two weeks of my one month vacation to Thailand I was beginning to feel homesick. I was missing my loved ones and getting tired of relaxing and doing typical tourist activities like being on the beach, burning in the sun, and eating and drinking all day. Im a busybody, so all this time relaxing was not comforting to me. After a google search I found Noppadols Wood Carving College and I headed staight to Chiang Mai to take a 5 day course. When I was younger my family would always go to a Thai restaurant that had on display a spectecular deep relief carving of a herd of elefants walking through jungle. I always spent time looking at it, and its what inspired my design what I carved here. The one at the restaurant was huge - may be half of a medium sized teak-tree. I am a wood worker by trade, and I have been taking carving classes for a few years now. After five wonderful days I have learned soooo much more about carving and cant wait to get home and finish my carving. Mr. Noppadols style of teaching where he demonstrated a technique and then watched me doing it was a great way to learn. Its incredible how fast and precise he can be. Watching him change how hard he hit the tools and the swiftness of his blows was a treat! The food was wonderful!!
Carlo Mark, UK, December 24th, 2017
I found Noppadols Caving College on the internet and sigend up for a 5 day course. Very interesting and sometimes hard work, but well worth it. Excellent teacher and can quickly rectify your mistakes if you go wrong! Really peaceful spot, and a small shop about 5-10 min. walk nearby - also turned into a small bar for the locals in the evenings with a big screen TV. Taking home with me a beautiful carving of teak that will inspire me to do many more. Im from the UK, but have moved to Thailand this year as we built a small Bungalows & Pool Resort in Katharawichai, Maha Sarakham. So if someone needs to recover from pain in the arms (..and find an additional report about my week with Noppadol on "BLOG") I recommend WWW.COCONUT-PALMS.COM - Nearest Airport is Khon Kaen or Roi Et. - PS: Noppadol is not only a Master Carver, he is also a Master Chef!
Diego Berton, Italy, December 17th, 2017
Daniel Zrihen, Israel, October 23rd, 2017
Today is the last day of my 5 days course. It was an amazing time. I did learn so much from Noppadol and highly recommend the experience of the course.
Jason Teo, Singapore, October 22nd, 2017
These three days of learning from Ajarn Noppadol have been a great experience. Ajarn is always patient to show and explain how to create a beautiful carving through the use of hammer, chisel, mind and body. I have gained more understanding for wood and wood carving. The workshop, accomodation and surrounding nature is excellent. I hope to come back for more learning. Khub larn mag krub.
Marina Ilina, New Zealand, August 17th, 2017
I have booked a 3 days course, but on arrival I fell in love with some beautiful 3-dimensional carving, which I saw at the residence. Having no experience at all I took decision to change to 5 days when I realized how ambitious I was. It was a great experience! I learned so much, and master Noppadol was very helpful all the time. I had to cancel other plans in favour of carving, and it was the right choice for me - very happy by outcome. I really loved accomodation here. The villa is surrounded by orchards, rice fields, and there is a fish lake (a very big pond) stoked by hundreds of fish, which play now and again. Really touching was the care which Mr. Noppadol took on preparing meals, trying to accomodate all my wishes and surprising me with something unexpected now and again, but it was delicious! Thanks a lot for your care and teaching! All the best to you and family.
Miro Bakuri, USA, July 1st, 2017
I signed up for 3 days course. This was my first time carving wood, so I didnt have any idea about what I was doing. Mr. Noppadol demonstrated how to cut wood differently by using different chisels, and he was an excellent teacher in every step throughout the course. I feel that I have learned so much in such a short time. I am also grateful for the accomodities including delicious food and pick up - drop off to Chiangmai. Thank you so much for everything!
Andy Campbell, Philadelphia, USA, June 29th, 2017
Over my 25 years career as a technical director for theatre, Ive made just about everything that a person could make. But it was all fake. Over these last three days I made two pieces with just a chisel and your instruction. Your skill to quickly turn a block of wood into whatever shape you want is amazing. Thank you a lot, Mr. Noppadol.
Hyoi Kim, Korea, Dec. 9th, 2016
Ive always admired wooden sculptures and furniture. So I signed up for 3day wood carving course before coming to Chiang Mai, without knowing what it may be like. Im so glad I did, I was a complete beginner who wanted to carve a 3D figurative. Looking back I had no idea what I was talking about. Mr. Noppadol told me that I must start with something with a back panel, carving only 1 side of the wood block, and helped me to achieve what I wanted at the end. We started by drawing one of my designs on the wood, as I am a textile print designer, and carved until the lady with the flower came in shape. Mr. Noppadol has been so patient with all my continuous mistakes and always found an amazing way to correct and cover my mistakes. He would say "No Problem, its OK" and showed me better ways to achieve the right effect.
I stayed here during the course and I honestly enjoyed it so much. I love the surroundings and the sound of the birds. It was such a peaceful 3 days in the beautiful village. I loved sitting on the table watching the sun go down after a full day of wood carving and with delicious Thai food favorits offered in between. I would highly recommend Noppadols Wood Carving College to anyone I know. No matter what level of wood carving skill you have, Noppadol would taylor the course for you so you get the most our of it.
Arturo Eduardo Torres, Texas / Mexico, Nov. 11th, 2016
I am a carpenter, furniture builder and woodworker by trade. This was a valuable experience. Noppadol is a excellent teacher and he makes his craft look effortless as a true master should. In my field mostly everything is mapped out with precise numbers, angles and straight lines. It was refreshing to approach wood from a different perspective. It is definitely a skill set I look forward to taking it home too. On accomodations, coming from Bangkok this little house situated out in the country away from the chaos was a delight. Dogs, catfish pond, the sound of power tools in the distance. It was exactly what I needed to relax, mind the arduous daily chisseling. Who might have thought that carving a little piece of wood could take such a physical toll? The meals were fantastic. I felt like being a guest at someones house. I encourage you to walk around, take it all in. Play with the dogs. To Baan Tawai centre is a very very short walk as well if you need aything in the evening. This is my first time in Thailand. So far Ive had nothing but great times. I dont know when I will be back but I will always remember these long but also quick three days here. Also, as a American on the eve of election night, I would like to apologize in advance if we give the world Mr. Donald Trump.
Yee Sang Wong, China / USA, Oct. 8th, 2016
I would recommend Noppadols Woodcarving College to anyone who is either travelling in Thailand, or passionate about art and craft. This has been a fantastic experience for me. Noppadol is very flexible with the schedule. Although his website only mentioned 3 days and 5 days courses, when asked he agreed in a 2 days course for me. Thank you! I have an architectural background, and this experience will be inspiring to my future architectural designs in a few ways. Firstly Noppadol taught me design by doing. Instead of planing by talking. Noppadol draws and chisels to find out the next step. This allows you as the artist to work with the nature of tools and materials, not against. For example, I was carving two elephant legs, one in the front and one in the back. As Noppadol chiseled away the parts where legs connect with the body, they are in different depth, but the feet remain on the same layer. This is because you only need to chisel away just enough to make perceptively correct shadows and you will realize that only by immitating Noppadol, not looking at depth scientifically. Carving is about perception.
I have run out of space on this guestbook page, please visit my blog yeesangwong.com to see what else I learned! In a nutshell, Noppadol can teach you a lot about carving, even more than that. - Ask him about village politics, he is a politician of his village too.
Claire Wen, China, Sept. 19th, 2016
I signed up for a 3 days course. I have vague passions for wood carving but my experience is blank. The purpose of this trip was to figure out if Ill persuit wood carving, and the answer is YES! I totally enjoyed it. Everyday I was seved by Khun Noppadol with with delicious Thai flavour food, and the time fled when I focused on wood carving. Every strike I took was gentle and hesitated, observing how Khun Noppadol cut the wood made me understand a determined decisive strike is important. Everytime I felt it looked good already, Khun Noppadol asked me if he could refine it more. To see how he cut it clean and quick, I was always impressed. He is totally a master, I am honoured to learn from him as a beginner. Ive also enjoyed the view, beer and chatting, valuable three days! I will come back to learn more. Thank you!
Jason Richie, USA, July 30th, 2016
My goal for the 3-day course was to find a connection with creating object. I only dabbled with basic stone carving and wanted a place to relax and focus while learning what I can do. I learned I have a lot to learn! And I learned to watch carefully on Noppadols wood impact. This is an amazing place and I hope to return. I will remember Noppadol, this beautiful house and the surrounding nature, the bench and the tools, the smiling motorbikers, the yummy food with the chilli sauce, and the sugar bowl to keep the ants away. I will always remember the hardworking people of this land and how they adapt what they have to fullfill its purpose. Thank you Noppadol!
Joy & Daniel Worth, Australia, July 12th, 2016
Happiness in the fields! Daniel and I were only here for 3 days. But already we will miss the birdsong, the AMAZING food. and the daily rhythms of the road, the sky, and the rain. Daniel improved so quickly - the new skills are sure to serve him as well as are the gorgeous chisels! Thank you, thank you, and until next time.
Wow what a great couple of days! Very challenging, but I feel I have learnt a lot from Noppadol and the art of wood carving. And such a beautiful place to spend time learning a new skill. Thanks so much!
Bernie Kelly, Australia, July 1st, 2016
I am very new to carving, but determined to continue to a stage where I can produce something of value (appearance - not monetary) I have difficulty imagining 3D or forseeing what the result from a single dimension drawing may become. From this course, I believe my ability to visualize the final result has imprioved substancially. I will continue to work on the techniques Noppadol demonstrated, practise makes perfect! So I will do the same project again at home. It is humbling to see my best efforts turned in just a few minutes into a carving worthy of view by anybody. That shows talent and experience, especially the ability to turn a big mistake into something visually attractive. As mentioned elsewhere, the food and locality is brilliant.
Konrad Hunter, USA, February 26th, 2016
I have been very pleased with this 5 day course. I work as an artist in the U.S.A. and have only minimally dabbled in wood carving. My goal with the class was to gain foundational skills which I can apply later in my work with woodworking. Noppadols method has been to teach me by demonstration and then allow me to practice on my own for same time. It is important to observe closely how to handle tools and strike a blow. While most of my strikes are gentle and careful, Noppadols experience shows as he is very aggressive with the wood but quickly removes the proper area. It is very humbling to watch a master work.
The accommodations for the course have been amazing. Pick up and drop of to Chiang Mai. A clean and comfortable guest house and very eccellent food. I would recommend this course to the serious artist.
Don, California, January 29th, 2016
I recently retired from NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. I worked there as a Construction Manager and facilities engineer. I always enjoyed wood working, attended a cabinet making in Minnesota after my 4 year USAF time. Stationed at the Udom RTAFB (Udon Thani) for one year (11/68 - 11/69) I always wanted to see Chiang Mai. When I saw the US Woodworking Magazine article, the trip was a "real" must do. I owned some used wood carving chisels for 3 years, but never used them. I am very greateful that people like Noppadol are willing to share their expertise for a small fee! The instruction was excellent. The five days here have started a new area of woodworking for me. I now feel I can grab a piece of wood and make something out of it that I had only marvelled at before, and was afraid to try. A really great 5 days.
The food was s real treat, five days of North Thai Home Cooking, priceless! Big thanks to the "Cookie".
It was real fun, a great education, and a really good experience in this part of Thailand, land of many good people. Loved the neighbors, kids, dogs, chickens, birdsongs etc. Thank you very much!
Don from "inland" Los Angeles, California.
Sara, Elias, Mateo & Franck, Belgium, January 9th, 2016
Cette semaine passee ici a travailler le bois. Jai eu un peu de difficultee a trouver le chemain, mais avec l'aide du bon guide jy suis parvenue. Jai pris donc gout a sculpter le bois et le faire avec patience. Faisent un tour plus long au tours du village, il y a de beau paysage et temple a voir. Faire, prendre les devant, voir et entrevoire jusquau restultat. Final - une tete de Buddha, et deux mandala! Pour nous!!..
Sallie Yang, Singapore, December 30th, 2015.
It was lovely to be able to learn the basics of wood-carving from an experienced teacher such as Noppadol. Its amazing that he can carve a sculpture free hand without the need for machine and sand-paper. Seeing him at work is a great example of mastery. Ive learnt a lot from master Noppadol and most of all, it has been a humbling experience. Thank you master Noppadol! Best wishes, Sallie.
Chu Jae Sun, Korea, November 20th, 2015
This was a great opportunity to meet the great master Mr. Noppadol and to see his carving skills. Many thanks to teacher and his wife. I retired from work three months ago and so I have free time to learn woodcarving. My age is 60, Korean. I accompanied my wife because she likes to meet people and to travel to foreign countries. Five days were great to experience wood carving, improve my own skills, and to heal my mind. My hobby is wood carving through last 34 years. I will keep this hobby for my lifetime. The last night we had a very enjoyable party with Noppadol, Yuuraj and my wife Kim at a local store nearby his house. It was a fantastic time and I will not forget the last night forever. I thank Master Noppadol and Yuui from India, who is a genius and very funny.
Yuuraj Karthikeyan, India, November 28th. 2015
This is Yuuraj from India. My dream was woodcarving for many years now. Finally God opened the door for me, finding Master Noppadol. He is a great teacher and man, always caring for me and my student colleague Mr. Chu and his wife from Korea. Great time. I learned what is wood carving, how to carve, and all about technics. Thank you so much "Amazing Great Master Noppadol".
Marti Planells, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, September 23rd, 2015
Marti has been doing the three days course with Noppadol while I was enjoying this marvelous house, in this wonderful place! Reading, walking, going with the motorbike everywhere around. Indeed it has been a healing place before going back to Barcelona. Besides, we love the food Noppadol and his wife prepared for us... really good meals! Regarding the course, Mark has done a big mask in just three days! Amazing! But eight hours of hard work with Noppadol helping in everything he needs, giving him advice of the best way to follow his work. He has learnt another way of working and he is amazed of how good woodcarver Noppadol is.- In just a few minutes he woodcarves you a face!!
Thank you for your time! We know you have been very busy this week and we are very grateful you had time to give the course to Marti. Thanks!!!
Dr. Kevin Kisich, USA, March 14th, 2015
Dear Noppadol and Pen, I thank you for teaching me and taking good care of me this week. Sincerely, Kevin
Steven Murray, USA, (Chiang Mai), February 27th, 2015
Ive just completed a five-day wood carving course with Ajarn Noppadol and have an attractive piece of carved teak wood that will give me continued inspiration for the next carving project.
I have learned how to use wood carving tools by watching Ajarn Noppadol work with them on my and others carving projects. He has helped me to understand how a three-dimensional carving evolves from a two-dimensional simple line drawing and how to create a sense of depth perspective.
Ajarn Nophhadol has given me an excellent hands-on experience along with a comfortable, hospitable environment. (Not only is his sweet wife an excellent cook, but he himself prepared our lunch a few of the days!) Since I live in Chiang Mai, lunch was the one meal that we enjoy together for each of the five days.
Ajarn Noppadol is a Traditional Northern Thai Master Carving Artist and Im grateful for his instruction and patience! (Thai "Ajarn" = teacher, master)
Josef Büeler & Esther auf der Maur, Switzerland, February 26th, 2015
Noppadol is just a great teacher! We like his patience and his humor.
We liked watch him, when he has corrected our mistakes, he is a real master.
Finally we are satisfied with our pieces of art and do evermore appreciate all the fine wood carving all over Thailand.
Bill Draper, USA, January 30th, 2015
I had the class and my wife Nancy stayed with me. We inaugurated the new bungalow. Wow! The peace was wonderful. Birds and sounds. Bees in the fruit trees. Everything was lovely. Hospitality was fabulous. Good food, good service. We loved it.
The carving class was fine, working with Noppadol is a great experience. Working in teak is very nice. Love the tools, primitive but so effective. The handles sometimes came out but fit right back in. The teacher covers all areas very well, from design to technique he is very good. My 5 day class was wonderful. Nancy and I will recommend this class to anyone.
Doug Ogdon, Australia, August 22nd, 2014
I have some carving experience and came to Noppadol to do some traditional head carving, and then a deep relief of a floral piece. First 5 days covered my weaknesses on facial expression, and I completed two heads. Next 3 days deep relief carving completed. Noppadol covered the areas I needed help most and he did have to do some clean up for me.
I am not at all used to the chisels supplied, but I am sure they will compliment those I have at home. A great experience, a great tutor, an excellent host, good food and accomodation. Nothing is too much trouble. Many thanks Noppadol!
Mark Hopkins, UK, August 21st, 2014
A wonderful environment in which to learn wood carving for six days. Seeing Noppadol carve was truly inspirational. I would have appreciated a little more direct instruction though it often turned it wasnt clear what the best approach or next step should be. Moretheless an enjoyable experience.
Joel Manton, Australia, August 8th, 2014
Firstly Ill start with a question: Why isnt this course booked out months in advance?! It is rare a master of something offers his services let alone day after day hands on help! A word of advice for future students: "Wisdom is given to those who seek it." Noppadol is a well of knowledge spaning 4 decades! Ask, ask, question and ask more.- This will ensure you get the most out of this course! Being used to powertools I dismissed basic hand tools too quick. The knowledge he gave me for five days is a perfect foundation to step my wood-working ability to the next level. Thankyou Noppadol for your guidance and patience. I really enjoyed your course and hospitality. And Im seriously thinking of kidnapping your wife, I will be sad to go home to such flavourless food.
P.S.: The kids need your guidance. Link your site to Social Media!
Aline Miguel, Brazil, May 16th, 2014
Id like to thank Mr. Noppadol for give me an amazing experience to enjoy precious moments at your home and see a little bit about your life and neighborhood. All the village were amazing and the kids who live there were the most precious jewelry. The course was an unique experience that demands you a lot of patience, hard work and perseverance: 3 things very important in life! I hope that more people from all of the world could have this amazing experience! Thank you again!
Russ Knab, USA, March 14th, 2014
I have wanted to learn how to carve for many years, so I decided to take a course with Mr. Noppadol while I was living temporarily in Chiang Mai. Mr. Noppadol is an outstanding craftsman and teacher. I was amazed at his skill and his ability to transfer his knowledge to a novice student like me. I feel like I now have some base carving skills along with the know how to start carving on my own and the tools to do it.
Mr. Noppadol was very accommodating allowing me to attend classes on a half day schedule to relieve the pain in my bad back. I didnt stay at the school so I cant comment on the home stay, but it looks very nice and peaceful. Food was great. I highly recommend this course. Thank you!
Ayala & Gabi Razer, Israel, February 19th, 2014
The course was great. We are beginners in woodcarving and learnt a lot during these three days. Mr. Noppadol is a great teacher and he strives for great results. The food was great and tasty. We recommend this course to everyone with some love to arts and traditions. Good luck!
Jed, Bex & Rose Dale, UK, February 7th, 2014
Starting out as I am on my path to learning woodcarving, these 3 days were a wonderful inspiration and have provided me - by showing me the great distance I have yet to travel if I am to even approach the great craftsmanship of Noppadol - with a determination to practice with redoubled vigour upon my return home.
When younger I would look at the layered relief-carvings in Thai restaurants and lose myself in wonder. What a privilege it is then to be able watch a real master of the art in action. Thought, hand, chisel, and wood are seemingly all of a piece when Noppadol works. If only my Thai were better I think I should have learned more - perhaps next time.
I might add that Noppadol and his wife have also made us feel like welcome guests here, and our six months old doughter has been taken from us to meet her new friends in the village daily.- She will miss it as much as we do, and not at least the incredible cooking!
I hope if I practice hard and eliminate my bad methods I will be able to return with a more correct platform to develop my skills upon. Thank you, Noppadol.
P.S. If you do get a massage, do not be fooled by the tiny stature of the woman who comes over.- Her grip is equal of the sash-clamp on the workbench.
Bettina Lasbeck & Ulrich Behm, Germany, January 31st, 2014
HERZLICHEN DANK FÜR DIE TOLLE ERFAHRUNG! WIR HABEN EINEN FÜNF-TAGE-KURS ABSOLVIERT, WAREN ABER SCHON NACH 4 TAGEN FERTIG. NATÜRLICH MIT VIEL HILFE VOM MEISTER, ES HAT UNS GROSSEN SPASS GEMACHT. WIR HABEN EINE MENGE GELERNT UND HOFFEN, DAS ERLERNTE WEITER AUSBAUEN ZU KÖNNEN.
VOR ALLEM HABEN WIR VIELE NEUE INSPIRATIONEN GESAMMELT ÜBER THAILÄNDISCHE HOLZHÄUSER, WAS UNS SEHR BEGEISTERT HAT. WAS HIER IN JEDEM FALL NOCH ERWÄHNT WERDEN MUSS, IST DAS SUPER-LECKERE ESSEN - ALLOI MAK MAK!!! UND DAS LIEBEVOLLE SAUBERMACHEN VON Noppadols FRAU CHANPEN. WIR KONNTEN UNS GANZ AUF UNSERE ARBEIT KONZENTRIEREN, OHNE ABLENKUNG... AN ALLE, DIE NOCH NACH UNS KOMMEN WERDEN:
Igor Mintz, Israel, November 27th, 2013
I am beginner (at most) with woodcarving, and decided to do the 3 days course at Noppadols Wood Carving College. I enjoyed, worked hard, learned a lot, and ate "AROY" (tasty) food.
On the first day we started carving, on the second day Mr. Noppadol was flexible enough to change the project to answer my wishes. On the third day I learned how to take care of my new tools.
Mr. Noppadol, thank you very much!
Scott Nissen, USA, September 19th, 2013
I have enjoyed my 5 days course and stay here at Noppadols Wood Carving College very much. Noppadol picked me up in Chiang Mai and took very good care of me. The meals were wonderful and never the same.
I hope to return again and improve my skills even more. I want to learn deep relief carving, but it is going to take some time and more classes. I have enjoyed my stay, the classes and the food, and would recommend it to everyone who has an interest in being a master carver. Blessings and prayers to a wonderful teacher
Nutthamon Wutilertcharoenwong, USA, August 30th, 2013
Kroo Noppadol, this one month woodcarving lessons with you has been a truly wonderful learning experience. Learning by doing is definitely the best way to learn to woodcarve and get to know the tools. It is quite sad that not many younger generations of Thailand are willing to continue this spectacular art. However, it is good to know that there are still people, or rather experts, who are willing to devote their life to passing on the tradition. I truly admire your sense of dimension and your persistance on perfection, for it has inspired me to strive for perfection as well. Please rest assured that the valuable lessons you taught me will not go to waste. They will be implemented in my own work. Lastly, thank you for taking an amazing care of me. I have grown to love this neighborhood and its irresistible charm. Thank you!
Craig McLennan, Scotland, March 24th, 2013
I enjoy doing woodworks of all kinds back home in Scotland. I seeked this college out of being impressed by Thai-Lanna woodwork on a previous holiday to Thailand. Me & my girlfriend staid off here on our travels of Southern Asia, and it has turned out to be the perfect respite/break for us. Noppadol and his wife are very nice and quiet, just like the rest of the village. Baan Tawai and all its products are simply amazing. The food is lovely and generous portions - best food of all our trip. The accommodation is simple, clean, and no distractions, just right. I wasnt sure how learning from the master of carving was going to be. But it was easy going in the sense you dont have to study books etc. But you must be patient and concentrate intensely on every little movement that Noppadol makes with his wide variety of chisels, cause he teaches by doing! There is too much to explain by talking, especially with 30 years+ experience and limited English. I tried but just wish I could speak more Thai. I am delighted with the whole experience and the end result of all the carving! I learnt a lot in 3 days and will hopefully be back again for later. "No pain, no gain." (sore neck) - "You learn more from your mistakes." - "Teakwood is amazing timber. Study and follow every grain when carving stray."
Many thanks, Noppadol, and see you again.
Luca and Elizabeth Plattner, Australia, March 7th, 2013
I came here to learn more than woodcarving and to find the path to a new way of life. In only three days I learned that being a carver requires great skill, patience, tenacity and stamina. Noppadol has all of these qualities and is a great teacher. I will need to develop all of themů. Besides woodcarving I enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the Thais, their fabulous food and joyful attitude. We participated in feasts of everyones houses in the village and in celebrations at the temple. This is a great place. Thank you Noppadol for making this possible and for making us feel welcome. All the best, Luca
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Im writing this on our last day here. Looking back with a stiff neck I am surprised that Ive been able to learn a very creative way of work, and impressed with the result - "cleared up" pretty good! There were moments when I felt totally unable to do this, but I got through then. My husband of course doing much better than me. But I did especially enjoy the moments when Noppadol told him that he needed to "clear up" as well! Excellent life building experience. Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth
Barrie Scott, UK, January 14th, 2013
This was an opportunity too good to miss, and I leave having had an extraordinary time. I have been a carpenter and joiner and recently taken up carving as something of a retirement interest. I learned from books the basics and picking away at a piece. So for ages I can turn our something vaguely OK. Watching Noppadol was a taste of the real thing. His decisive strokes achieve in ten minutes what I couldnt do in a day. I have now some skills to go away and practices which could enhance my "hobby" a great deal. I wish I had more expertise so I could have taken greater advantage.
I would recommend any carver to come and see what this man can do. It has also given an insight into the Thai carvers world. Looking at some of the fabulous pieces in Baan Tawai all created with these basic chisels is fantastic. This is a lovely area I look forward to returning. I am very grateful to Noppadol and his wife for letting me share their home, and I am sorry to leave. With luck articles will appear in some international woodworking magazines. If so, I hope this will pay suitable tribute and bring in more students. Thank you Noppadol!
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December 21st, 2013 - Hi Igo, you helped me booking a carving course with Noppadol some months ago. I thought this might interest you: The British Magazine "
Craig, Kim, Morgan and Nicholas Cahoon, Australia, January 4th, 2013
Much harder than expected. Nice village, good food, and quiet after the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Your teaching style shows patience and wisdom of a Master Carver, but some theory is requested before practice. Your willingness to share your country as a guide shows your love for others. Thank you for the warm welcome and stay at your home. Our family carver Morgan shall remember this experience for ever and share his story and yours to all. Thank you Noppadol and Family, see you again.
Terry Payne, Australia, November 14th, 2012
Noppadol is a very patient man. He gives me instructions and I try to follow. When I am finished it doesnt look so good. He says "No problem, I can fix". And he does it with ease. The 3 days have been a good introduction, and I can see I will need lots of practice back home. The accomodation and food has been first rate. I have made good friends with the dog, who keeps me company and takes me for walks every day. I would definitely recommend this course, as it is good to learn by doing, and Noppadol makes sure the work is finished off to a good standard. Thankyou Noppadol, and the dog. Also to his wife Chanpen for the lovely meals.
Lydia Zambon, Australia, May 17th, 2012
Hello, I am on my last evening of a 5 day course. I am a non-arty type trying to connect with my arty/imaginative/creative side. I managed to produce a bowl which - far from perfect - I am happy with. Whats more important is that Ive learnt humility, patience, and have strengthened my love for wood. This course has inspired me to join the local "wood tuners" group when I get home. Ill be the only woman and the youngest at 50 years, but hey, what the heck? Working and learning from Mr. Noppadol has been wonderful. What an amazing environment. The peacefulness and serenity are great. Wonderful to experience the quiet times, the birds, the chicken and ducks, and watch the world go by. Ive cleaned up my chisels, hoping the Australian customs let them in. I will certainly be attempting more carvings in the future. Thank you - khap kun kha !
Dr. Edward Harrow, USA, January 21st, 2012
This has been a wonderful and humbling experience. Having found his course on the Internet, I really didnt know what to expect. In fact, it has been just about everything I hoped it would be. I have been carving for some time and taken several carving courses, but this has been about as good as it gets. Master Noppadol has shown me what I have long suspected, that the carvers of Thailand are really quite special. Having used both hand tools and rotary burrs, I was really most impressed by what can be accomplished with mallet and chisels alone, especially working across the grain of the wood. To receive exclusive one on one instruction for eight hours a day is more than I hoped for. The setting has been lovely, working in the open air, hearing birds chirping in the background and being greeted everywhere I went with smiles by the local residents. The food was simple and delicious and the setting wonderful - rice paddies on one end of town and shops and services at the other. My wife and I certainly wish to thank Noppadol and his wife for their gracious hospitality. I would heartily recommend this course to both novice and experienced carvers.
Norbert Jakubke, Canada, November 28th, 2011
Over the past five days I have experienced a number of lessons in woodcarving, that will stay with me for a long time! "Patience" is the first lesson Noppadol taught me. - You simply cant rush a wood sculpture. "Planning" is another lesson I learned. - You have to think about all the angles before starting. "Skill" is another lesson I was shown again and again. - I had little skill, while Noppadol had 30 years to offer. The setting was charming and perfect for contemplating each and every chip. I enjoyed the daily stream of people who went by. Especially the guy passing along on his truck, yelling "nice carving!". Noppadols cooking was delicious Thai food. I leave with a fond memory and great lessons learned.
Markus E. Neugschwandtner, Austria, July 8th, 2011
It was my first wood carving course and I had luck to do it with Noppadol. He is not only an excellent woodcarver, but also a very patient teacher, even if I made the same mistake over and over again . The place is very nice, the food delicious, the people (Noppadol and his wife) great. I dont know what to write more, but I can recommend the woodcarving courses and the place without hesitation. Enjoy it YOURSELF !
George Hussain, Ireland, June 7th, 2011
On my trip to Thailand I decided to do my first wood carving course with Noppadol. It was an excellent decision. Learning to wood carve was a lot harder than I thought, so this will give me an excuse to come back here again. It was an extensive 3 days but Ive anjoyed it and appreciated everything that I learned. It has givem me great respect to carvers, learning their traditions here. As it is not an easy job I also enjoyed tasting the traditional food being served to me here, as it was an enjoyable experience. And the surrounding has been so peaceful being away from all the hustle and bustle of the cities.
Thank you very much. And hope to be back soon, with a bit more experience.
Eric M. Laufter, USA, January, 2011
I took Noppadols class on a whim, hoping it would be a great introduction into the art of woodcarving. Through his teaching and 3 long days of hard work, I believe Im hooked! I produced a wonderful panel with a Thai guardian figure that I will give to my son, and Im sure hell cherish it for many years. The samll town of Baan Tawai is very quiet and a perfect place to relax. In the eveneings I read and contemplated my work for the next day. If you would like a massage, just ask Noppadol, and he can have a woman come along for 120 Baht (4 Dollar US) per hour. I really needed it, as carving was rough on my shouldeers, neck, and back. All in all, a great experience, and I hope to come back again in a few years with my family.
Thank you, Noppadol, for your knowledge.
Dr. Greg & Jeanne Yang, USA, December 15th, 2010
It is our last evening of a three day course and we just had a delicious meal cooked by Mr. Noppadol, the Teacher himself. Not only a woodcarver but also a great chef! My muscles are sore from 9 hours per day intensive wood carving. I have delt for many years with woodcarving, but often only an hour. This is my first wood carving course I have tempted to go, and I added this comitment to my vacation plans for the Philippines, Hongkong and Thailand. Mr. Noppadol is an intense but kind teacher. He is a classically trained carver being apprenticed to a master woodcarver (his uncle) when he was only 13 years old. He will know from the moment you pic up a chisel and touch it to wood, wheter you will be successful in carving a flower petal or end up with something that was chewed upon by a beaver! You will feel from frustration at times because he is watching your work careful and will advise you the proper way of holding the chisel, the sequence of steps to take, and reasons for his recommendations. You have to remember that each cut has a purpose and has to be executed with precision and intent. He will teach this to you if you wish. Mr. Noppadol will show you the basics of sharpening the tools using only the two yellow bricks sitting in front of the goldfish pond! With his method and the excellent tools provided, I was able to complete my carving with fairly intricate cuts on hard teakwood, sharpened only before I started. My wife and I will be going to other wood carving courses in the future and will be using this college course as our baseline. We will definitely come back!
Sandra & Matthew Macdonald, USA/Saudi Arabia, December 9th, 2010
My husband and I took the 3 day course from Mr. Noppadol. It was our first wood carving class and it was very challenging. Mr. Noppadol was a great instructor, and we did pretty good for first timers. We also loved the food and our accomodations. It was very comfortable and relaxing. We walked around town, did some shopping, and found the people very kind. We would recommend this class highly, thank you!
James Lotha, India, November 4th, 2010
If there is not Mr. Noppadol on this earth, I would not be in Chiang Mai to learn the art of woodcarving with such a great master. For the past 2 months it has been an amazing experience for me to learn the art of woodcarving. Yes, Sir, you have tought me in a very positive way. It has given me a new chapter in the world of wood carving. A big THANK YOU, SIR ! And also I would like to thank your wife for her kindness and hospitality too. I realy enjoyed your delicious food that you have served me, thank you, Madam. Last, but by no means least, I proudly recommend this wood carving college highly. Once again thank you very much, may God bless your family and the people of Thailand.
Anita Vögeli, Switzerland, April 4th, 2010
What a peaceful place, filled with warmth, kindness and hospitality. A place where the connection to the art of wood carving can be seen in many details where ever you look around. Mr. Noppadol has been a fantastic teacher. Patient over all. I had the chances to make my own mistakes - and learn from them. And there was always Mr. Noppadol in the back, fixing everything that went wrong. I had a great time working the wood, dealing with the tools, frustration and satisfaction sometimes very close. 40 degrees celsius might not be the best temperature for wood carving. But the experience was worth every drop of sweat. And a big THANKS to Mr. Noppadols wife Chanpen, who is an excellent cook!
Lauren Fonda, Canada/Saudi Arabia, March 28th, 2010
My friend, Steve Smith, introduced me to the joys of wood carving, and I fumbled around, discovering by trial and error, how to shape the wood with the few tools Steve acquired for me on his last trip. Steve continually urged me to come to Baan Tawai to take a course, and throughout it all, I finally went there and watched in awe and humility the amazing talent and skill of Noppadol. Back home before, I had achieved a certain "comfort level" with what I could do with my tools. But it wasnt until I watched the master in action that I realized just how far I had to go before I acquired even a small amount of that expertise. I showed up at Noppadols school (Im an art teacher) with a hand full of ambitious ideas for my plan, and was quickly shown "the error of my ways" - choosing some thing way over my head. In Noppadols kind, patient and generous way, he took my roughed out design and turned it into a work of art - one that I will be proudly giving my friend, Mindy, at her wedding. The food is nothing short of 5-star-restaurant-level, amazing..., and Noppadol had 5 cold beer in the fridge waiting for me!!! Thanks for a great 3 days, Noppadol, Ill be back with friends next time.
Steve Smith, USA/Saudi Arabia, November 29th, 2009
This is my fifth year returning to Noppadols Wood Carving College. During my time here Noppadol has not only taught me woodcarving, but has been my window into Asian culture, religion and history of this region, specifically Thailand. I have studied woodcarving in many other countries, but this has been where I feel most alive! Noppadol has been a great teacher to learn from positive, kind, motivating, which are only a few words to describe him. And over the years "dear friend" has also been added to that list. Here is where you learn! So as I finish my fifth project and drive away towards Chiang Mai, I say as I have said so many times before: "God willing I will be back".
Michael Di Carlo, USA, August 21st, 2009
Taking Noppadols wood carving class, essentially guarantees you of a few things: First af all, if not already felt, you will leave with a love and appreciation for fine woodcarving specifically traditional Thai. Secondly you will learn a lot by doing, which is the best way. Noppadol is almost always there to answer any of your questions, usually by demonstration, which is good, as it also assures that you definitely leave on with a beautiful piece of art. The home and the town are beautiful, calm and peaceful, and the food was nearly as good as the class itself. - 5 days totaly worth it, and Im already planning an extended return.
Andrew & Zach Ell, USA, January 20th, 2009
Dear Noppadol, this has been an amazing experience and given me a new humbling appreciation for the beauty and art of woodcarving. Event though it was only a 3 days course, because of the hours under your expertise, Im proud of what Ive accomplished. Its fascinating to watch how quickly you can "clean up" my carving to make it look beautyful! A true master. The accomodations are fine, its a truly waterproof room! The food was exceptional, many thanks to the chef. My son & I will never forget this experience. Everything from your professionalism, the demonstrations, right down to the Sunday serenade. I thank you for the wonderful experience. We hope to be back soon!
PS: If ever have taken a wood shop with Mr. Smith at Forest Ridge, Indiana, and want to go one step further, wed recommend taking a few days off the beaten path and visit Noppadols Wood Carving College.
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