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

    Like

  2. Virginia Hein says:

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

    Like

  3. Mohd Danish says:

    nice work mam…….

    Like

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