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NOVICA Artisan Thatsanee and Ramphan

Thatsanee and Ramphan

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Thatsanee was born in Sankamphang, a land of beautiful and attractive handicrafts, celadon items chief among them. I worked in a bank for quite a few years but the office work prevented me from admiring the beauty of my area's handicrafts. The advantage of working in the bank was that I could access funding resources. I got some small capital to be able to start up a little celadon kiln and workshop along with my partner, Kanda.

"Working with celadon was a dream of mine, and being able to focus my life in this special traditional craft of Thailand brought deep meaning to me. Soon after, I was joined by Ramphan Khumsingkaew, an extraordinary painter, and we all helped to form the base of our small team many years ago."

Master painter and artist Ramphan (pictured here) tells her story. "Dearest clients, we are artists in the celadon ceramic tradition, one of the three main ceramic styles in Thailand that dates back many hundreds of years. The traditional green tones of the glaze are intended to bring to mind the tonal qualities of jade.

"The celadon glaze is thick and strong, yet has many intricate weblike cracks in its surface for an antique feel.

"I initially learned how to paint basic patterns such as bamboo and lotus, focusing on that for a period of three years. Then I learned more intricate and artistic Thai patterns that I have been painting up to now. My inspiration comes from Thai culture and traditions, and my personal experiences in day-to-day life.

"Painting on celadon can be quite difficult, for this kind of ceramic has a rough surface; it requires much skill and patience, and it sometimes takes me a month to complete a single piece. I am very proud of my work.

"At present, I lead a happy and peaceful life. I have a loving family with two children. I intend to continue my painting career and would be pleased to teach others, for I hope that my work will never be forgotten."

Thatsanee adds, "Our work ethos is included the King's teachings on 'Economic Sufficiency,' which encourages to be efficient in all aspects of life and to always learn new things and new techniques. Then we add morality into it, for we work with happiness and care for each other.

"We're all members of a big family, and always help each other. The most important thing is that we understand each other above all, and that we understand the beauty of our art and traditions.

"My main focus in handling all celadon work is focused on the happiness and satisfaction of my team and myself. Good life and good will among all of us is the most important thing for me. As such, I do only good things for myself and every one around me. The result is that the team and I are equally proud of being able to present the beauty of a local art and handicraft from Chiang Mai to the world.

"Finally, a noble motivation also helps. We work with the sense that we are continuing history, our heritage. The products are beautiful and unique. Celadon is anchored in the Lanna, or Northern Thai culture. A fine skill is needed to create it and our ceramics are useful in these modern times, and makes the work meaningful.

"We specialize in seven main categories, which include monotone celadon in green or blue — carved art design (where the color is painted under the glazing), Lanna celadon (depicting Lanna life), Benja celadon (featuring five main colors), lacquer celadon which receives the textures of lacquer ware, and celadon jewelry, which is elegant and unique.

"As a local Thai woman, I feel so proud to have the chance to create and present unique celadon designs to the world. The success we have been reaping is not just from the celadon we love. It is from the nice, gentle and humble mentality from our ancestors that has been passed on to all of us.

"Working with celadon was a dream of mine, and being able to focus my life in this special traditional craft of Thailand has brought deep meaning to me."