Jaifah Aksornsri from Thailand

Artisan Jaifah Aksornsri

"I'm Jaifah Aksornsri or Fah, and my name means 'of the sky.' I was born on October 19, 1964 in Chiang Mai province, Thailand. After my parents got married, they moved to a larger city to start their family and get a new chance in life.

"In town, my parents started making hill tribe dolls and silverware, and sometimes they sold antiques. My mom told me she'd took her goods in a bicycle basket or sometimes carry them her shoulder to sell at the hotel near the railway station. The same year I was born, they opened a shop. Many years later, they opened a bigger shop for silver and antiques. They loved to collect antiques and didn't want to sell them all. They wanted to protect many of them so that people from future generations could know about our art, styles and culture.

"After I graduated from college, I wanted to study for a master's degree or find a job like all of my friends did, but my parents wanted me to learn their work. They told me, 'This job is a real-life university.' I've learned by doing it all my life. They wanted me to succeed and try to protect their wisdom. This is my talent. I don't know where my skill and love for it comes from. My heart says it's because I've seen and been involved with my parents' work since I was young. Throughout my childhood, my friends were people who helped my parents, like the painter, the carpenter and the woodcarver."

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