AN EXHIBITION CONCEIVED FROM THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN SEVEN THAI AND FRENCH DESIGNERS AND THEIR FIELDWORK WITH THE CRAFTSMEN AND CRAFTSWOMEN IN CHIANG MAI.
TRANSFER(S) is an exhibition conceived from the collaboration between seven Thai and French designers and their fieldwork with the craftsmen and craftswomen in Chiangmai, Thailand where they explored the wisdoms and crafts of the region’s textiles, wickerwork, ceramics and lacquerware. The fieldwork gave birth to 18 works that reflect the combined use and crossover of materials and techniques. Free from the confinement of convention and tradition, the project sees works of various inventiveness, from the technique commonly utilized in the making of patterns for Northern lacquerware used with bamboo, to Salaa, a sizable ceramic bowl whose edge is formed from woven bamboo wood, causing the joints to be redesigned and reconfigured. Another interesting result is the birth of the new language of form that is neither Thai nor French such as the oval shape derived from the face of the Buddha images commonly found in Thailand, which became the inspiration for many of the works featured in the exhibition such as Laploï Family, the sculpture of assembled ovals made of woven bamboo.
What wasn’t mentioned in the exhibition is how the collaboration allowed for the local creators of crafts to acquire new experiences that contributed to new possible approaches for local craft production and creative adaptation of local wisdoms. The final outcome further reflects the project’s objective to develop the craft how-to to generate economic value and creative utilization of craftsmanship skills as well as new techniques to greater fulfill the demands of modern-day consumers. As for the designers, the collaborative process has brought about the reconsideration of several issues from the production process and environmental sustainability to the definition, participation and role of designers in the society. TRANSFER (S) was debuted at Chiang Mai Design Week held in December of 2016 before traveling to Alliance Française de Bangkok earlier this year.
TEXT: NANTHANA BOONLA-OR