When I first met Manoon Chompootape, I remember we sat at her home on the floor and talked about my project. It was almost 9.00 P.M, and Manoon just came back from her rice field. She appeared in her working clothes with her signature towel on top of her head. It represented her long working day that she had just finished. Surprisingly, she never seemed tried during our conversation. She listened carefully to me as we talked about my request for her to make a big Kratip sample model and closed the conversation by saying ‘if you are not satisfied with the result, you don’t have to pay for it.’Such a big heart she has! In contrast with the leaders from many other villages, which mostly started the conversation with the money issue.
Manoon naturally became a group leader as the members of the community trusted her and believed in her ability. She not only works very hard in every possible way, but she also keeps on experimenting and innovating techniques.For her, it is important to teach and pass on these techniques to her people.Under her leadership, Kratip has become their main job. By doing so, she continually brings new opportunities to the group, creating a better life quality for every member.
“I was not able to finish primary school but lot of people call me ‘teacher.”Manoon
We are so happy to have Manoon as a leader in our community. She is always developing her skills,teaching us new techniques and bringing us new ideas. Without developing our skills, we would not have the opportunity to sell anything. Manoon has shifted our products to another level: we developed lamps, bags and vases based on traditional Kratip techniques. For this reason, we have more and more clients.One of the members
Manoon created a transition in her community by constantly seeking for new contacts, innovating the products and finding new markets and directions. One of the crucial things that I realized, the value of Manoon lies in her approach on life and work. Like everyone else in the community, she is her own boss, working without any rules and not separating family life from work. By working at home and at the same time taking care of her children and family,she represents their essence of life, namely honoring family life at first place.
Together with her husband Manoon lives in the community in a small hut. They have one daughter who lives with her husband in the city. Every morning Manoon wakes up around 3.30 am and gets herself ready. Then she goes to her paddy field to continue the rice farming process. In the morning and in the evening she is a farmer, but during the day she is a true craftsman. She uses her own house as a workshop, workplace and reception. She always wears her working clothes, representing how hard she is working every day. During our encounters, I never felt any layer between her and me. After many visits, I felt closer and closer to her and her family. Returning home, she never left me with empty hands, gifting me with products she made, or a Kratip full of warm sticky rice.
Being a Kratip craftsman, I do not have to work far away from home. I can even make the Kratip while I am walking or talking. In the past, it was my second job. But now it has become my main job, which provides me an opportunity to stay with my family and to be my own boss.Manoon
Manoon will never leave her hometown and her family, even if there is a better paying job waiting for her somewhere. She is able to survive on 50 baths (1.20 EUR)per week. There are fish is in the nearby river, chili and papaya in the garden and eggs in the cages.Manoon’s Daugther,27
Manoon’s sustainable life and the way she cares for her community fascinate me. She honors her craftsmanship as if it is her last breath. For Manoon, seeing her people enjoy a better quality of life, living with a good job or income, is one of the most important things for her. Trust and freedom are great values in the community. After Manoon was being a leader for a while, there was no need to lock all the houses in the village anymore. The community huts became an open-house together.
Without Manoon, we would have lot of difficulties and our community might not be able to move on. In some communities, the leaders do not give any benefits to their members, or they even take advantage of them because they know that all the members depend on the leader.One of the members
My people do not have to wait for an (Kratip) order. When they finish some products, they can just bring it to me and they will receive some money, which is always needed for them to improve their quality of life. In this way, with me as a leader, they have someone who all the member can really rely on when the help/support from the government is absent.Manoon
The Craft of making physical things provides insight into the techniques of experience that can shape our dealing with others. both the difficulties and the possibilities of making thing well apply to making human relationships.Richard Sennett
For me, Manoon is a real craftsman as she only makes valuable things that people can use in everyday life. She never stops learning and experimenting; every mistake leads her to a new discovery or technique. Moreover, she is always willing to share her knowledge with all sorts of people, ranging from 3-year-olds to pregnant women. In spite of that Manoon does not have any certificate to guarantee her expertise, for me, her fundamental knowledge and her life experience are things that even a degree cannot measure.
The outstanding parts of our crafts community are the creation of new pattern designs and the playful colors and the innovative techniques and details. I never stop developing. I constantly study new crafts in order to stay creative and push my brain forward.Manoon
Being able to know the story of the craftsmanship behind the products has been something that always fascinated me. Over and above that, to discover it intimately, step by step, all by myself, was something indescribable. Throughout my memorable exploration, I have been facing endless beauties, new viewpoints and philosophies. All those different hidden treasures filled my inspiration bag that I carried to the next step of my journey.