FEATURE: Cross Cultural Craft project 2019 promotes wood carving techniques

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Teachers and students from Vetsaphong Skills Development and Testing Centre and artists of the Support Arts and Crafts International Center of Thailand exchanged information on wood carving techniques during the “Cross Cultural Craft 2019 project”.

The three-day workshop, which was a collaboration between the Lao and Thai centres, provided an opportunity to students and teachers from both sides to exchange experiences and lessons about arts and wood carving during the sessions at Vetsaphong Skills Development and Testing Center in Vientiane.

The Director of the National Institute of Fine Arts of Laos and the President of the Lao Fine Arts Association, Dr Maysing Chanboutdy, said Lao artists completed seven wood carvings and artists from Thailand completed one carving at the workshop held during March 18-21.

The two sides presented different styles of wood carving and techniques, and the event also promoted exchanges in this field, he added.

During the workshop, the teachers and students of Vetsaphong Skills Development and Testing Center learnt a lot about methods and techniques of wood carving, including the Lao wood carving style, ways of carving a boat and making photo frames, from the craftsmen and teachers from Thailand. 

“This workshop, a cross-cultural project, will be a step towards cooperation for human resource development and promoting the skills of the craftsmen and artists of Laos. It is also a step toward the singing of a memorandum of understanding for development in this field and others,” he said.

Officials decided to organise the workshop at Vetsaphong Skills Development and Testing Center because it was a location that suited the teachers, and the craftsmen at the center have a high level of skills in wood carving and handicrafts. Besides, students of the centre had a good chance to learn carving techniques from teachers from Laos and Thailand.

The Chief Executive Officer of Support Arts and Crafts International Center, Ms Amparwon Pichalai, said, “The Cross Cultural Craft project focused on conserving and rehabilitating the value of arts of our forgotten heritage by linking artists with high specific skills from countries in the Asean region. This creates new inspiration and knowledge that facilitates the development and conservation of these arts and crafts for new generations.”

The project also promoted friendly ties between the countries and created a network of craftspersons who can become a force for development, she said.

This year’s event focused on the development of wood carving with the knowledge of experts trained in the classic styles of Laos and Japan.

This cooperation will be expanded to conserving culture, creating more model products and promoting the exchange of knowledge and skills for the development of wood carving and value-added products that can be exported to international markets.

Over the past four years, SACICT has rehabilitated forgotten heritage in neighbouring countries under its project named “Revival of the Forgotten Heritage”. This has included joint projects with the Natural Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute and Hacienda Crafts of the Philippines.

This year is the Year of Asean Culture, and Thailand, as the president of Asean, is cooperating with neighbouring countries, especially Laos, for creating benefits for local communities and preserving crafts and handicrafts.

A teacher from Thailand, Mr Yunyong Kumyuang, who is a distributer of teak wood products, said he was visiting Laos for the first time, and appreciated being part of the workshop as it was a good for the exchange of lessons and experiences in wood carving and arts between the two countries.

He said he had learnt a lot about the technique and styles of wood carving at the workshop, and it was a good step towards further cooperation.

After completing the training, the teachers and students displayed their products at the Vetsaphong Skills Development and Testing Center.