At Barehands, we love to see every collaboration as one that is made by artisans and consumers or designers around the world, using the skills and talents they have been endowed with to contribute to the betterment of communities around them.
This year, we met a family of eight woodworkers including Ms Khunponpats. They are a second generation of artisans hailing from Northern Thailand, experts in carving traditional wooden artefacts and have been doing so for the last ten years. However in recent times, saw the need to modernise the family business and start making modern-day products such as plates, bowls, utensils including name card holders.
LIFE AS A FAMILY BUSINESS OWNER
Khunponpats joined her family of woodworking about two to three years ago to helm the business. Before taking the leap, she was working as an employee in a foreign company for ten years. As she opened up, she shared that even though the income earned in her current job may not be as much compared to her previous job, she finds meaning and joy in continuing her family's generation craft of woodworking to the next generation. As her family is one of the many families in the wood carving village in Thailand that is still doing woodworking, Khunponpats is not only on a mission to keep the craft alive but to ensure every family member can earn a sustainable income and flourish as a community.
Her family of woodworkers like working with rubber wood and acacia wood. Rubber wood is known to be environmentally-friendly as they are harvested from rubber plantations which have usually served its purpose.
Cutting, polishing, painting and finally coating the products is a standard process in woodworking that their family is very acquainted with. To make an item like a handcrafted wooden name card holder, it takes around 10 to 15 days. Although it may take some time to finish a product, Khunponpats shared that the satisfaction at the end of every project is one that will not be replaced, as what matters most is that the family is doing it together.