In search for a highly skilled craftsman in the making of Kratip, I came across many communities which have lost their commitment to this craft. For example, in some villages, the craftsman had already passed away without passing their skills on to the next generation, while in other communities the Kratip was not produced anymore due to a lack of market demand. In many other communities, crafts are created to serve the Thai mass market, resulting in the substandard quality of the Kratip.
Fortunately, after a long search, I came in contact with the Baan Na Sa Mai community, which still embraces the value of craftsmanship and had long been persevering the skills in Kratip making. Manoon, the leader of the community has played a crucial role in providing me with the opportunity to collaborate with her on the making of Kratip. She has not only created a sublime Kratip for me but also made me see the beauty of her daily life as well as discover an unexpected value of craftsmanship that has an impact on human relationship. It was after this encounter that I realized that a true craftsman has become a rarity, even in the old Thai communities.
As a result of my close working relationship with her, a strong desire in me emerged, a determination to chronicle and tell her story in order to empower her and her craft community.
Here, I invite you to step closer to Manoon through my meaningful memory in the following chapter.
How does the unlettered craftsman produce beauty?
He may be unlettered, uneducated and lacking any particular force of personality, but it is not from these causes that beauty is produced. He rests in the protecting hand of nature.Soetsu Yanagi
The beauty of folkcraft is the kind that comes from dependence on the Other Power. Natural material, natural process, and an accepting heart—these are the ingredients necessary at the birth of folkcrafts. Hence it is the kind of beauty that seves us. The craftsman has not the power to save himself. It is nature that does the saving.