Tag Archives: bamboo festival

The inaugural Bamboo Sculpture Competition

bamboo sculptureThe weekend of 6-7 September, 2014, saw the Bamboo Society of Australia (BSA) put on its first Bamboo Sculpture competition. The competition was held in conjunction with the Living Community Festival at the Mullumbimby Community Gardens (7 Sept.). The weekend was, in a nutshell, fantastic.

The comp attracted a dozen entries, each one distinctive, and diverse, in its own way. The judges must have struggled. First prize and the People’s Choice Award went to the two entries by the same creators. There are lots of images of the weekend on the BSA Facebook page.

bamboo sculptureThe event was made more fascinating for me because I was on site for the two days leading up to the exhibition. Most of the entries were so large that they were (re)constructed on site. Just by hanging about and lending a hand here and there, I picked up some useful tips on working with bamboo. On the Sunday there were also impromptu demonstrations around the BSA bamboo yurt. Pictured above is Munir from Giant Grass. Munir travelled from Melbourne to create the sculpture behind him. Here, he is showing a fascinated crowd how to bend bamboo using heat, one of the processes he used to make the sculpture of bamboo funnels.

bamboo world, victor cusackAlso present was Victor Cusack. Victor is well-known in Australia as probably our most prolific writer on Bamboo. He was on hand to promote the beautiful new edition of his book, Bamboo World. You may find it on eBay au.

It was something of a revelation for me to meet a group of people who are so passionate about bamboo and so generous with their knowledge. Really, all they talked about, with very few exceptions, was bamboo, in its innumerable manifestations – growing, collecting, constructing with, creating with… Future events are planned. Keep an eye on the BSA website.

 

Activated Bamboo Carbon

Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal, activated coal, or carbo activatus, is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption.” 

activated carbon, activated bamboo charcoalHmmm, so? Bamboo is just one material used to make activated carbon. Activated carbon has special qualities over plain old charcoal. Adsorption is the key here. Adsorption is the binding of molecules or particles to a surface, as distinguished from absorption, the filling of pores in a solid. Activating carbon gives it high degree of microporosity, increasing the surface area so just one gram of activated carbon has a surface area in excess of 500 m2.

Activated carbon has many industrial applications, but probably the best known use is medical. The adsorptive qualities can treat some poisonings and overdoses. It’s so important that it appears on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. For everyday personal use the list of activated bamboo charcoal is extensive: odours, soap, humidity, water filtration, baking, face masks, indigestion, toothpaste, insoles for shoes….

The list of products on Amazon goes on for pages, (but not every item will ship to Australia). Ebay au has a smaller but still diverse range of activated bamboo charcoal products. The most popular products seem to be the air freshening/odour absorbing ones. There is range that comes wrapped in hemp bags – much more attractive than the plain black bag I picked up at the Bamboo Festival. There are some pretty ones on eBay au though, as well as some disguised as dogs. Maybe stuffed dogs in the back windows of cars are really there for a purpose?

The most interesting looking product, I think, is the food-grade powder. Or maybe the tooth and gum powder. With the powder on hand, you could make your bamboo charcoal soap, use it to make bamboo charcoal bread, treat indigestion and certain poisoning events, or whatever you can think of.

In case you are wondering, activated carbon is usually made from charcoal and, increasingly, high-porosity biochar, both of which can be produced with mature bamboo. Two different processes may be used: physical reactivation and chemical activation. There is a Wikipedia entry that explains the processes.

Reference list:
Activated carbon
Adsorption

Damyang Bamboo Museum

TheBM lift doors bamboo museum at Damyang is quite a treat for anyone with more than a passing interest in the uses of bamboo. One room is dedicated to an exhibit about how bamboo grows, but the museum concentrates on displays that cover every imaginable use of bamboo, and then some. Even the lift doors have a bamboo motif.

Many of the displays, unfortunately for me, remain a mystery, as the museum provides very little interpretation in English. Given the number of other native English speakers I saw during my visit (none), this is hardly surprising.

One whole room is devoted to photos, graphics, and written information about the production and benefits of bamboo salt. But that’s all I can tell you about it really, as only Korean is used for interpretation. I’m sure it’s fascinating.

bamboo museumThere are several souvenir shops attached to the museum. Each one offers a slightly different range of bamboo products. They all smell wonderful – like freshly dried bamboo, a grassy, woody, friendly, comforting kind of scent.

The bamboo museum sits among gardens, nurseries, sculptures, and, of course, its own little bamboo forest.bamboo museum Bamboo museum Bamboo museum

I’ve got stacks more photos of displays within the museum, but inserting photos into the blog using a 7 in. tablet is testing my patience unnecessarily. I am on holiday, after all.

bamboo charcoal, bamboo museumThe bamboo museum in Damyang is short walk from the bus station and a very long walk from the bamboo forest. From Gwangju, a good base to visit Damyang, take local bus 311 from outside the Gwangju bus terminal. Where else might you see a bamboo charcoal dividing wall?

Bamboo rice in Damyang

Wandering around Damyang for the bamboo festival there is very little to assist non-Korean speakers, probably because there are few non-Koreans. When I saw a restaurant  that provided an English translation of their small menu, I dived in.

Eating in Korea is a social thing, so as a solo traveler I was not surprised to get some strange looks, even a few sympathetic ones. But here I was at the Damyang Bamboo Festival and I was hungry. I ordered the bamboo rice set.

bamboo festival

The first arrivals. Fresh bamboo shoots to the left.

Several side dishes arrived and I started. I was feeling pleased with my choice as it all looked quite manageable. Wrong. More side dishes arrived, then the bamboo rice.

The table that seats four diners was full of dishes. Each one was small and special.

bamboo festival, bamboo rice

Bamboo rice to the left.

I tried all of them but could only finish some of them. It was just too much.

The bamboo rice had some kind of beans in with it too. I didn’t detect any special flavour to the dish because it was cooked in the bamboo, although I’m sure the locals would argue otherwise.

The Damyang Bamboo Festival, South Korea

Bamboo everything and more. The 16th Damyang Bamboo Festival is in full swing as I write. The otherwise quiet town of Damyang is noisy, chaotic, and everyone seems to enjoying themselves.

bamboo festivalThe festival is wrapped around the river on one side of the town, just beside the bamboo forest. There is everything one might expect to find at a summer festival in this part of the world: music, market stalls, parades, food, and, of course, bamboo.

bamboo festival

Bamboo baskets are strung along the bridges

Over the coming days you will see more posts here about the Bamboo Festival, the Bamboo Museum, and the famous Bamboo Forest in Damyang.

bamboo festival

Preparing for a parade

 

Fresh bamboo & clear spirit

bamboo festivalFresh bamboo & clear spirit is the slogan for the 16th Damyang Bamboo Festival. The festival is planned to run over four days from June 27 to 30, from 10 in the morning to 10 at night – if you happen to be in South Korea on those dates. I will be.

The festival schedule is now posted. There seems to be something for everyone, although not necessarily related to bamboo. A multicultural joint wedding, throwing bean bag game, and a Flash Mob are just a few events planned for the main stage. Hopefully this means I’m in for a very local event.

While the stage events are not really that tempting for me, the activities, exhibits, and stores are. Damyang is the centre of the South Korean bamboo universe. That alone is reason enough for me to go. But wait, there’s more: a bamboo museum; a bamboo theme park; a bamboo park; and hot baths perfumed with bamboo. Plus, another bonus, the province in which Damyang is located, Jeollanam-do, is especially famous for food. What better place than a local festival to sample great local food and delicacies?

You can reasonable expect to hear more about bamboo in South Korea over the next month or so. I’m also visiting Kyoto, another centre for bamboo craft (and food and hot baths).