"Leather craft is more than a source of income — through leather, I also meet many new friends around the world."
"When I was in high school, I had an elder friend who just finished studying at the art school in Bangkok. He came back to open a shop and sell handmade leather crafts, like shoes, bags, and such. I'd visit him at the shop when I had free time because I needed his advice on taking the college examination and studying. Poh-Chang College, where he went, is the art student's dream school. There were many fields of arts to specialize in.
"I learned his craft through visiting. I studied each step to produce items in leather. When he had too many orders to handle, I would be his assistant. Most of the tasks I helped him with were very simple, such as finishing the details of a piece, painting, tinting, and drawing.
"I had practiced my drawing until I could pass the college exam. Then I could apply to study arts, as I had imagined. I selected the faculty of National Fine Arts, which focuses on the Thai Arts — for example, making khon masks. These are traditional Thai masks which are used for important ceremonies. In the past, these were used only by his majesty the King and the royal family. It's very hard to find the khon show at present. It represents the arts of Thailand in many ages.
"After that, I started to do airbrush paintings on bicycles. It was very famous at that time.
"Then, I open a small leather shop in Khonkaen province. Unfortunately, it wasn't as successful as it should have been because I loved to give my work to my friends as souvenirs. So the income wasn't enough to continue the business. Therefore, I decided to pack the materials in box and move to Chiang Mai.
"I had worked in interior design for hotels and resorts. Since Chiang Mai has become a tourist city with many attractions, I decided to go back to Khon Kaen and bring all my leftover craft supplies to start working in handmade leather again in Chiang Mai. I not only create leather bags and belts to sell, but also repair these things.
"Working with leather is never boring and I've never felt like giving up. The most important material is cowhide. It is very resistant and can be used long-term. I must plan very well how to cut the leather to minimize waste. Then, the cut leather is put together by hand. Each process — cutting, sewing and dyeing — all are done by hand.
"I always love to learn about new handmade leather products in order to develop new designs of my own. Leather craft is more than a source of income — through leather, I also meet many new friends around the world. Some of them are tourists who bring me leather goods to repair or come to buy a new leather belt.
"My wife sews the bags. We are very happy to work together. We also provide opinions and support to each other, always. Many times, my wife inspired new designs, so they are now more diverse. I've sold more to women shoppers, as well. My wife keeps the waste leather to cut into many different shapes to decorate fabric bags or create the small key chains we give to our customers as gifts.
"When someone asks about the process of leather craft or wants to learn, I am willing to teach them gladly.
"I've been doing this in Chiang Mai since 1986. It's been a happy time and I've enjoined my work a lot. I have a small, warm family. My daughter is going to graduate in nursing and she is also a special violin teacher. My wife, our daughter and I enjoy music every evening. My wife plays the cello, I play guitar, and our daughter plays the violin. That's it — my happy family.
"I really hope that you will be very happy with my designs and I look forward to your feedback. Thank you."
Get it before Mother's DayFriendshipMen's Braided Light Brown Leather Bracelet from Thailand £20.99
Get it before Mother's DayCinnamon BraidCinnamon Brown Leather Braided Bracelet from Thailand £17.99
Get it before Mother's DayDark WarriorDark Brown Leather Cuff Bracelet for Men from Thailand £22.99
Get it before Mother's DayFeather SpiritBrown Leather Feather Pendant Necklace with Tiger's Eye £25.99
Get it before Mother's DayIndian FeatherFeather-Shaped Earrings Crafted from Leather, Bone and Wood £20.99
Get it before Mother's DayAssertive in BrownThai Brown Leather Braided Bracelet with Silver Clasp £41.99
Get it before Mother's DayRock Walk in OrangeHand Crafted Carnelian and Leather Band Bracelet £22.99
Get it before Mother's DayEnigma in BrownMen's Artisan Crafted Leather Wrap Bracelet from Thailand £17.99
Get it before Mother's DayJourneyFair Trade Men's Brown Leather and Brass Adjustable Bracelet £24.99
Get it before Mother's DayBold ContrastBrown Leather and Black Cotton Bracelets for Men (Pair) £17.99
Get it before Mother's DayLanna Warrior in BlackMen's Artisan Crafted Leather Wristband Bracelet £25.99
Get it before Mother's DayBold Brown ContrastMen's Black Leather and Brown Cotton Bracelets (Pair) £20.99
Get it before Mother's DayLanna Warrior in BrownMen's Artisan Crafted Leather Wristband Bracelet £25.99
Get it before Mother's DayWider Lanna Warrior in BlackMen's Artisan Crafted Leather Wristband Bracelet £30.99
Get it before Mother's DayFeather Spirit in BlackHandcrafted Black Leather Necklace with Tiger's Eye £20.99
Get it before Mother's DayRustic RussetFair Trade Thai Russet Brown Leather Bracelet for Men £20.99
Get it before Mother's DayThe PowerTigers' Eye Cuff Bracelet in Leather Handmade in Thailand £30.99
Get it before Mother's DayCourage in Espresso BrownThai Handcrafted Espresso Brown Leather Wristband £25.99
Get it before Mother's DayThai Cowboy in BlackMen's Black Leather Tiger's Eye Pendant Necklace £17.99
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Get it before Mother's DayCordovan RopeArtisan Crafted Braided Leather Wristband Bracelet for Men £20.99
Get it before Mother's DayRough and Tumble in BlackUnisex Leather Bracelet in Black and Brown with Brass Snaps £20.99
Get it before Mother's DayLanna DestinyBlack Leather Wristband Bracelet for Men from Thai Artisan £24.99
Get it before Mother's DayThai CowboyMen's Handcrafted Leather Wristband Bracelet from Thailand £32.99