"My days pass quickly when I'm doing beadwork because I am doing what I love."
"When I first started beading, I found it very difficult, and was not content with my designs and the work. However, as time went by, I gained more concentration and became happier with the designs that I'd produce. This work makes every day enjoyable because I have finally found what I love to do.
"Hi, I'm Thidarat Khaewlah. I was born into a small family in a little village in the north of Thailand. My parents gave me a nickname that translated to 'dear daughter.' I had one older sister and I remember my family being very happy in the village -- it was small but it had everything that we needed.
"After graduating from nursing school, I worked for a public hospital until my mother got sick and I quit my job to take care of her. Unfortunately, she never recovered from her illness and passed away. I took some time off from nursing after that and, during the interim, I got married. Afterward, I returned to the same hospital where I worked as a surgeon's assistant for seven years.
"While working at the hospital, a friend introduced me to beadwork. Here is where I found my calling! I loved beading and sometimes, during breaks between surgeries, I would do beadwork to fill the time. I eventually quit work to devote my time to beading. My days pass quickly when I'm doing beadwork because I am doing what I love.
"The most challenging thing in my life so far was driving a car. I am now learning to drive with the help of my husband, but I find it a challenge and a struggle every day.
"What has touched me the most in life was growing up with my mother. She gave me a lot of encouragement in my life. What has made me the person I am was learning the things that she taught me and gaining the knowledge and experience that can only be passed on from mother to daughter."