"When I was in seventh grade, a friend invited me to his house and I met his brother who made aluminum repoussé, embossed by hand to create a design in low relief."
"I was born in Chiang Mai in 1979. When I was in seventh grade, a friend invited me to his house and I met his brother who made aluminum repoussé, embossed by hand to create a design in low relief. He depicted different shapes like animals or religious figures.
"I thought it was fun and wanted to try my hand at it. My friend's brother was kind enough to teach me how to create a design on a scrap sheet of aluminum. After that, I went to my friend's house almost every weekend to see his brother work and, sometimes, I'd help him create simple shapes like trees. He paid me a little, and I was so proud because I could buy candy or snacks with my own money.
"After that, I enjoyed spending my free time at my friend's house to learn and practice. Gradually, my skills grew. I learned to select aluminum sheets to suit the job and how aluminum is more flexible than other metals. I begin by drawing the pattern on the metal sheet and hammering the design. Then, I fill the reverse side of the raised area with lacquer varnish so that details can be stamped on the front plate of the sheet without damaging the shape.
"After finishing high school, I worked in a warehouse and had other jobs as well. I eventually moved to Phuket Province and met a shop owner who asked me to make some aluminum repoussé designs to sell to tourists. I managed to earn some money with this job and later decided to return home and sell my work at the craft market.
"Most of my designs depict famous people, elephants and other animals. I am very proud to have created Buddha's footprint in aluminum, which measured 1.8 meters and was enshrined in a temple. According to Buddhist beliefs, venerating Buddha's footprint helps strengthen a person by paying homage to Buddha. I was very proud because my work was an expression of my religion.
"Today, there are fewer than 100 skilled craftspeople who create repoussé works. It is rare for younger people to be interested in this art because it requires a lot of patience and imagination to create individual pieces. I hope to continue working in this Thai art as long as possible."