“Hi! My name is Arnon Thongkaew. I was born and raised in Chiang Mai. Now, I live with my family and my partner, woodworking in a small factory studio. I just opened a shop in Baan Tawai, Chiang Mai, which is a well-known wood carving village. My family started with made-to-order woodworking, and I learned to love the value of wood carving in my country. That made me want to dedicate myself to this business.
“I’ve been interested in arts and crafts since childhood. After I finished studying liberal arts in the university in Chiang Mai, I had time to attend many wood carving workshops and seminars. I learned by doing via YouTube, trying out various ways of how to design and carve wood into something interesting and marketable. At first, I took orders from an old customer, such as teakwood cabinets, then I tried to adjust the design to my own style. Eventually, all of my products came from my own ideas.
“Now I have two or three craftsmen to assist me in my workshop, but some detailed processes can only be performed by me and a personal assistant who helps me work in my shop and present my pieces outside. I usually go out to select teakwood from hill tribe people around northern Thailand. The teak mostly comes from old houses or furniture. Every piece has its own charm.
“I think my work’s strength is that it can be decorative and functional at the same time. In 2017, my vintage wood radio speaker got an award from The Office of Strategy Management Upper Northern Provincial Cluster 1 for creative new crafts in the Gift & Lifestyle industry group.
“In the future, I want to expand my craft’s market and have more income to support my family. I hope it will work with NOVICA. My dream is to build a real woodworking studio and shops. It could be the place for holding workshops for students or people who love wood carving, and also to be a gallery for my own designs.”