"They might not look 100% perfect like the machine-made items, but handicrafts are more valuable as they always have a story behind them. They brought my husband and me together."
"Sawasdee kha! My name is Nareenat Takerd, and I would love it if people worldwide understood and appreciated the value of handcrafted items. They might not look 100% perfect like the machine-made items, but handicrafts are more valuable as they always have a story behind them. They brought my husband and me together.
"I'm the youngest of three children, which could perhaps account for my nickname, Goy, meaning 'little finger.' When I finished my BA in Fine Arts and Traditional Thai Arts, I moved to Bangkok to look for a job. However, shortly afterward my mother got seriously ill and I returned to look after her, until she passed away. My father now lives with one of my brothers. I studied for a master's degree then, and when I graduated I wanted to look for a job as a government officer because it is a steady job with a good welfare system, and both my parents had been officers. However, due to the country's economic situation, there were no jobs available.
"A friend from my college days offered me a job at his family's saa paper mill. Our relationship flourished and after a year, we got married. We have no children, out of personal conviction, and we fully enjoy our lives together as a couple and as co-workers. That's how handicrafts got us together.
"My husband is a hard-worker who is always exploring new things, and that's how we came upon working with batik techniques. It is a traditional art form in Thailand, which I really like. I believe it allows foreigners to see how nice Thai people are. My husband's diligence has become my inspiration, and I feel very proud of the way we work together, because we are now in a position to offer work to people from our community.
"Our mission is to preserve batik art for the coming generations, and to use techniques that will preserve the environment. One way of doing this is to use high quality industrial dyes so we don't need to use big quantities, therefore not using as much water either. I prefer to create smaller amounts of high-quality products, than bigger amounts of low-quality products. My challenge then is to continue creating new designs and keeping customers happy.
"My husband and I work very hard, but we still find time to look after our families. I am happy and content with what I have now. I don't care for bigger or fancier things that would demand an extraordinary amount of effort beyond what I already do now. I am zealous of my happiness and wouldn't sacrifice it for more material things. I don't care to be rich but unhappy."