"Our patterns are those of classic Thai lacquerware but my designs focus on unique etched motifs that can only be seen in lacquerware from the north. I also use brighter colors."
"I'm Prathin Sribunrueang. I was born in 1960 to a family with five children and grew up in the center of the lacquerware work in Northern Thailand. We are a family of artisans. Today, there are only a few families that still make lacquerware in my village, and we always keep the old crafting traditions as we work together at my house.
"When I was about ten years old, I started helping my mother with her work and I felt good about this craft. After I graduated from the School of Fine Arts at the university, I married and moved to Bangkok where my husband and I worked about 30 years. Unfortunately, my husband passed away in 2015, so I moved back to live with my family and help my older sister to run the workshop.
"In 2019, I took over managing the workshop after my older sister passed away. With the help of my brothers and sisters, I continue to carry on our lacquerware tradition. Now we have six artisans who are mostly seniors that know how to hand-paint the unique motifs. Most of the work takes place in my home.
"Our patterns are those of classic Thai lacquerware but my designs focus on unique etched motifs that can only be seen in lacquerware from the north. I also use brighter colors. Because of our quality and reliability, our work is guaranteed and we are permitted to use the Chiang Mai brand. In 2003, our lacquerware was ranked as four-star products of the north. Our designs also won second place for household furniture from the Department of Industrial Promotion.
"Aside from economic difficulties, there are not enough sales channels for lacquerware. The younger generation doesn't know much about these traditional techniques. We keep working in the old style to serve the old generation of lacquerware lovers. We then had to design a new style for a new generation, but those sales didn't go well. Only true lacquer lovers come back to buy this kind of work, unless they are buying souvenirs or seasonal gifts.
"In the future, I want to develop and transfer our knowledge of both old and modern styles to a new generation. I don't want it to disappear from our life. We're very happy show our lacquerware so you can learn about this unique Thai art and about our culture. We're glad you've given us another way to promote and preserve this are of art."