"Survival of Craft"
1989 to 2020
A handicraft is a type of craft works which is skillfully made by hand or by using simple tools and is valued as tools to serve daily living. It often reflects one’s culture, lifestyle, belief and religion which represent their own unique identity.
Above is the general definition which can be easily found when we search for the meaning of ‘handicraft’. However, Suwan Kongkhunthien defines “Handicraft” as “Life” because it is essential to our life. The handicrafts convey human’s emotion and feeling. If you are emotional, your crafts will not come out good; the wicker will not be sharpened in the right shape. If you are upset, your crafts will be flawed. These imperfections add the charm to craft works as well as reflect human nature.
It all started with Suwan’s passion in craftsman-ship that led him to redefine the art of living through handicrafts. He would like to prove that art and design are playing the major parts in life and to examine how these handicrafts will survive. He co-founded a furniture manufacturing company designing oriental crafts which later has become globally recognized. He spent 30 years playing roles of both a designer and a businessman as well as portraying the challenges in every step of his journey through every piece of his works. Along the way, there were design constraints including problems related to materials, manufacturing and management which led him to discover new approaches to over come and meet consumers’ need in many different ways. In addition, owing to his craftsman team's tireless support and effort, his craftworks would not have been survived if they had not shared this journey along with him.
These selected works in this exhibition are comparable to a journal of a man who is passionate about his work and dedicates half of his life to overcome the constraints and to keep up with the changes. All his experiences were applied on these living crafts for both creators and users’ sake.
This exhibition does not try to jump to conclusions of how to make handicrafts survive. There are neither a success formula nor a how-to guidance in which everyone has to follow. We would like to invite all visitors to come along with us, using your imagination and sense towards these objects in order to let some fragments from his story which is a fine example of passion. Let them stir up faith and belief in ourselves to wake up doing what we love every day.
Content & Exhibition by
Bangkok Design Week 2020