"Wood carving requires skill and dexterity, which nowadays is hard to find because it is not taught in school, it is passed down from local master carvers."
"Hello, I'm Sathitporn and my husband is Paradorn Kittiwannakul, and we are a small family living in Chiang Mai with our adorable daughter. I was born in San Pa Tong, southwest of Chiang Mai, and I used to work in a government office very far from home. After a year I realized I was doing a job which did not suit my qualifications in business administration, because I felt that I didn't have a chance to apply my knowledge. So I decided to resign and go back to help run the family business. We were selling agricultural products such as animal foods and various agricultural equipments.
"After that, a friend of mine persuaded me to work as a local tourist guide within Chiang Mai for Thai and foreign tourists. Beside the elephant camps and the temples, tourists are also interested in original handicrafts and Chiang Mai is renowned for its lacquer ware, silverware, saa paper production, and affordable wood carvings. Tourists also get the opportunity to watch demonstrations of each production step closely, which would help them understand better local wisdom.
"Working for a while as a tourist guide, I absorbed the values of the crafting procedures without intending to, because it's often found in everyday life. When I saw the tourists' excitement with our handicrafts, I realized how lucky I was to be born in my home town. It is known for a variety of traditional arts, crafts and culture.
"I decided to rent a small shop even though I didn't have a concrete plan. I just knew that I wanted to live among all the beautiful and valuable handicrafts. At first I tried to find a product to sell by contacting manufacturers who produce various types of handicrafts. Then I finally decided on wood carving, because it's an art form that is always popular and has a variety of designs.
"I met my husband here. He used to work a messenger for a company, and after we had been married for awhile, the company faced economic difficulties and closed down. So he joined me at the shop, and we help each other to develop our products.
"At first we bought from artisans to sell at the shop. But we found there were disadvantages to this, such as clients not finding the actual designs they needed, finding duplicates at other stores, and compete on prices, which I didn't want to do, because it would impact the artisans' living, and they could quit their occupation for other better paying jobs.
"So, I thought we should develop our unique designs and so offer better pay to the wood carvers working with us. We're in control of the final process to ensure each piece is of the highest quality.
"Most pieces are hand-carved of teak, which we obtain from several sources such as old empty houses that are not used, and for more solid pieces we purchase from certified wood yards.
"Wood carving requires skill and dexterity, which nowadays is hard to find because it is not taught in school, it is passed down from local master carvers. Once a piece has been carved I will polish and decorate it neatly, before painting it as the final step.
"The number of tourists has decreased a lot, but our family has no thoughts on closing down, because we are happy to be a part of the conservation and transmission of our crafts.
"We join the Novica family with the hope it will help us preserve Thailand’s wood carving legacy. Thank you all for your appreciation of Thai arts and crafts."