"I still work quite a bit in the rice fields, but I also love working with wood. I enjoy it. I'm glad I have the chance to show my work online. I hope people will love it."
The artistry of Tay Nontawat has been featured in Natural Health magazine.
"My name is Tay Nontawat. I was born on March 24, 1973. My parents are farmers and I have only one older sister. When I was young, my parents were very poor. They had to work hard in the rice fields, just as my sister does. By the time I was a teenager, our family economics were better.
"My parents didn't see the advantage of an education because no one from our family ever graduated from anything except primary school. Besides, they seem to think that farm work doesn't require a higher education. They thought kids from farming families could never compete with those from wealthier families to get into good schools. So they tried to motivate us to work in the rice fields.
"My sister had to work very hard to help my parents, but she was able to pass the entrance exam to a good school and university. This caused my parents to change their attitude about education. They supported me in what I wanted to study. But I just could not make it. I just couldn't focus on anything when I was a teenager, so I don't have a high school certificate. It's a shame when I think about the opportunity I threw away.
"However when I was young, I learned carpentry skills from my father and male relatives. Wood working seems to be what every man in my village does. I remember making some wooden toys or wooden houses when I was around ten. Jamras Thapinta [a Novica featured artist] is my neighbor and I have learned many things from him and his brother. We also work together much of the time.
"Even though I've worked with Jamras for a long time, I only began to focus on wood work a couple of years ago. I started my own small work shop with a small kiln. At first I focused on the work that Jamras gave me. Once I was able to do it all, I began to work on my own designs and develop a style of my own.
"I still work quite a bit in the rice fields, but I also love working with wood. I enjoy it. I'm glad I have the chance to show my work through Novica. I hope people will love it."