Since #ChiangMai is an #arts and #crafts center, I visited a paper umbrella #factory, Bo Sang, to see this in action.
I watched workers soak mulberry tree bark in water (24 hours of soaking), then boil it with ashes (a couple of hours), rinse it with water, beat it with mallets, stir the fibers in a tank with a paddle, then sift them with a screen and lay them in the sun to dry.
When dry, the paper sheets easily peel off, and bamboo frames are added, by splitting bamboo to about three dozen spokes, then attaching them with glue made from fermented persimmon.
“Ex-busboy builds brolly empire,” a newspaper headline profiling the #founder on the wall stated, employing the British-style nickname for umbrella.
I observed #artists paint flowers, landscapes and – of course - elephants on the umbrellas, and fended off smiling attempts to paint on my notebook cover, cellphone holder and tote bag. (In more aggressive nations, they would simply have painted it anyway.)