My name is Suthep Panyamang. I am 33 years old. I live at 126/1 Ban Tawai, the place that I’m interviewed now. I have a long biography, but I am talking about it briefly. I have live here for a long time, since I was born. My family lives here, my parents are from here, they worked as labors. Since I was a child, about last twenty years, my parents always work as labors. My mother has three children, my brother, Tree, I’m the second and a sister. We are about 5 years older than each other.
I’m talking about my childhood, when my sister wasn’t born yet. My brother and me and my family were very poor. My parents were labors. We weren’t rich. The areas were not developed like nowadays. The place where I sit right now was a field. They grew fruits such as Lamyai, coconut or banana. I lived in a very small house where there were a few of Lamyai trees. We lived simply, the area was under-developed but we lived happily together as a simple family.
For the beginning of my career as a wood carver, I wasn’t really interested in this career. I have just learned it because all people around me carved wood, my relatives carved at home. I was used to it since I was a child. Eventhough, my brother also carved at home, I wasn’t interested in it. I was a teenager that time, I preferred spending time with friends and go out. I’ve just learned it, didn’t pay much attention. I have practiced for many years, about three year, that I could started carving.
I didn’t pay attention in practicing. My brother, Pee Tree forced me to carve but sometimes he paid for my work. He always asks for my help, little by little, I carved a small part in his work. He just let me practicing to use the chisels. He tried hard on me. He wanted me to do carving. At first, I didn’t like it. It took a long time for me to learn. I didn’t really understand about this job, how to use chisels. My brother has taught me for many years.
I am skillful on carving Anon fish. I could carve it in a frame like this but I prefer carving it in three dimensions like this. We can look at it in all directions. It made of teak wood. Some parts were carved in pieces such as the eyes and fins, but the body and tales are from the same piece of wood. The most difficult part is the tail, I have to carve it carefully. The fins were carved in pieces and glued it together. This is my skillful work.
In details, I designed Anon fish by study the pattern from the old work, some were Pee Tree’s work and from the work of the others, my teacher and my uncles. There are Kanok designs on them. Their works were terrific, I studied from them and also from the books and applied it to my work to make it looked delicated. The Kanok designs were delicated.
This pattern was very hard. With a piece of wood, I drew the design on it and then carve it. It hard to carve on the wood since the pattern was delicated with a lot of details. I have to be skillful and practiced a lot to carve it beautifully like this. The teak wood is not too hard and I have to carve it carefully.
I’m really proud of this career because it is our local profession and I am one of the local heritor. My ancestors started this career and I continue it. I could prevent our culture to be disappeared. I’m so proud. At first I didn’t really like it but now I’m proud. There are many visitors who admired my work, the foreingners such as Japanese, Korean and Chinese, liked my work. They admired and took pictures and realized that it is a kind of art. The carving is hard, there are a few people who are working like this. I have just won a prize from the village wood carving competition. I’m so proud.
I was so glad to get the first prize, I also got a provincial certificate for it.
The career of wood carving seems simple, I can earn my living and take care of my family. I’m proud of it.
I like the career of wood carving. It is a self-employed job. I’m free both in my creativity and my work schedule. I get an order and I can design it in any style. No one controls me. It’s not like work that I have to do but I want to do it using my imagination. I can work continuously without being controlled. I carve following my imagination. I like this job where I can work freely.
I’m proud that I am a part of wood carving profession, to keep on working with art and handicraft, one of ten types of handicrafts that should be preserved. There might be the others like drawing, painting or molding but these are each different. I’m a part of wood carving and it will be passed on to the next generations.