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NOVICA Artisan Saipin Vanichmongkol

Saipin Vanichmongkol

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I was born and raised in Bangkok and when I graduated, I worked for an advertising agency. During that period, I traveled to different provinces for work reasons and I went to Chiang Mai quite often. I became passionate about their way of life and even thought about living here for the rest of my life.

When I married and had children I decided to quit my job in Bangkok and we all moved to live in Chiang Mai in 2007. We wanted our children to grow up in a town with an easier way of life surrounded by a nice natural environment. We are really a happier family since we moved here.

"As soon as we moved to Chiang Mai, I started to follow my dream which was to own a small venture. Doing what I love was good place to start, and I've loved making dolls sewing them by hand ever since I was young. I named all of them. Various tales and stories were created when my friend and I played together.

"I started sewing dolls seriously at my own small workshop starting with animal themed dolls. I turned fierce animals like crocodiles, snakes, foxes, etc. into cute creatures. People always smile when they see them.

"My work starts from designing patterns, choosing fabrics that are available locally and decorate them with materials that can be easily sourced. It took us a long time of trial and error until we developed our styles and techniques.

"Sometimes I would design a doll with a funny shape just to be different, but the person assisting me would not approve and instead ask me to make it more perfect. So, I would have to explain to her to understand.

"Initially, the people working with me assumed that dolls were intended for children only, so I tried to explain to them they could be for everyone. They can make the people that receive them smile and be happy. I adapted my dolls for multi-purpose use, not just as a toy. For example I design ornaments for home or as party decorations, including Christmas tree ornaments. Now I use fabrics that are more vivid for my dolls to evoke various emotions. I always see a smile from all who see my dolls. Even the artisans who work with me also smile and laugh every time they see a new prototype doll that I design.

"Now I provide work for about 40-50 women who work from home with the materials I give them, that way they can still take care their families. They use their spare time to earn extra money for family. I try to find work for them to do constantly. In addition to the extra money they can make, they are proud of their abilities and skills, for they are acceptable by market standards. We all have a close relationship, like a family.

"To live and work with dolls makes our heart feel like children who are always having fun again. It also make us see things in an uncomplicated way and frees our imagination. And that is what inspires me to create new designs so they can make everyone happy, like a child again."