Turning Traditional Profession to Precious Products
It’s unbelievable that traditional loom weaving still exists in Klongsan district, Bangkok, Thailand. Not only it survives the rapidly-evolving world in the capital city, the business has been selling their products nationally and internationally to Singapore and China.
Today Happy Hub meets Aunty Nang and Aum, the member of “Mhae Bhan Charoen Rat 5” community enterprise. Their group produce a “handmade cotton fabric” and create many designs for bags, clothes, dolls, and pillowcases with their own hands. Their work has truly preserved a local knowledge of loom weaving by combining it with contemporary fashion. The business also creates more jobs and incomes for families in Klong San district and other provinces.
Aum told us that her mother, Aunty Nang, was originally from Khonkaen province. After she moved to Bangkok, she found it deplorable to abandon the traditional loom weaving knowledge. Therefore, she established her own business called “Worlacha” (https://www.facebook.com/worlacha/), Kamarri (handmade cotton bags) and “Mhaebhan Charoenrat 5” community enterprise with herself as the head of the group.
So far, they found that their main customers are 40-year-old and above, government officers. However, their products are also popular among people in teenage age to working age because loom weaving products are unique and scarce. Nowadays, this local knowledge and skill have been abandoned.
Aunty Nang and Aum’s persistence and hard work have caught the eyes of many academia such as Silpakorn University who helps in developing a longer lasting natural dye with fashionable pigment. Thailand Textile Institute also conducted a research on combining natural fibers of lotus and cotton to create special textiles which help to add more value to the handmade products. Moreover, Aum’s loom has received a patent protection as a loom invention which means it can be moved to other places.
Aunty Nang and her families have proved that their passion towards their work can continue to develop great outcomes. Now, their next step is to transform a 110-year-old teak wood house into a restaurant and a homestay. In order to welcome cyclist and tourist all over the world; including students, researchers, and media who want to learn loom weaving processes and Klong San history. Everyone is welcome to try Aunty Nang’s homemade Esan food. These activities will support a sustainable local economic development and improve human well-being in the community.
Date: June 20th, 2018
English version: Hua Namtip
Photo credit: Hoong Asawametikapong