Cambodia: Arts and Crafts

I spent a morning at a little craft village, Artisans d’Angkor, a great way to see artisans working at so many different crafts all in one place. Artisans d’Angkor came out of a program by the Cambodian government to rebuild the country. Training young people in the arts so they could earn a living without moving away from home, keeping the arts and crafts alive and paying everyone a fair price for their work is only a small part of their mission.

This woman took plain blocks of wood and lacquered them in red.

When the blocks were dry, the girl on the left painted the center of every piece in flat black and the girl on the right worked on a painting on that surface.siam_riep_crafts_village5

Some pieces got real gold leaf painted on to them by this ambidextrous artist: she never moved, but just switched the brush between hands to paint on very intricate gold leaf patterns . This was done in a closed room with a glass window to look through.

There were other large lacquered pieces being worked on in the workshop too, with gold-colored paint instead of gold leaf. These were out in the open workshop space, making it so much easier to draw them up close.

These artisans made little copper elephants. Here, they hammer decorative patterns into the hollow sculptures.

Next, the brass pieces go to the polishers who wear cloths over their face and goggles because of all the little copper shavings that flew off their polishing wheels.

I didn’t get to capture the step-by-step wood and stone carving process. So here’s a photograph that shows it.
craft_siam_riep_processThe stone and wood carving workshops used replicas of ancient sculptures and a very exact method of measuring sizes, angles and depths with calipers to replicate a piece.

That was my very last full day in Siam Riep. But I did have a few hours the next morning before catching a flight back home. I sketched, ofcourse. That very last post form Cambodia coming up next.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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3 Responses to Cambodia: Arts and Crafts

  1. Viktoria says:

    This is awesome; your sketching is just amazing!


  2. Virginia Hein says:

    Just can’t get over these…how clearly you convey what each artisan is doing…and so beautifully!


  3. Mohd Danish says:

    nice work mam…….


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