The Thai royal family and Thai fabrics are inseparable – HM Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother is loved and remembered for her achievement in preserving the arts and wisdom of Thai silk. HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, as her granddaughter, is determined to continue this respectable work. As a designer, she’s been using the fabrics in her collections for over 15 years, while taking part in several projects involving Thai silk. Her latest initiative, ‘Pa Thai Sai Hai Sanook’ project aims to take the conservation to a more practical level.
The project begins with HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya’s “Mudmee with Princess Sirivannavari’s Hook Pattern”, which was presented through the Community Development Department as a New Year’s gift to the weaving communities – approximately 1,022 in 74 provinces. They are eligible to use and incorporate the hook pattern with their own signature weaving techniques.
The pattern sees a collection of symbols where each of them holds different meanings, such as The S that stands for Princess Sirivannavari herself; the 10 rows of S patterns of which refer to her father, who is the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty; and lastly, the heart pattern on the edges that represents the eternal love she has for the Thai people.
The emphasis of the project is tied in with nurturing the heritage wisdom of Thai silk by having it represent the local cultures, as well as integrating it into costumes that people, of all genders and ages, can wear on a daily basis.
The highlight of the initiative under the ‘Pa Thai Sai Hai Sanook’ umbrella, however, centres on the contest containing eight organised workshops to encourage more fabric designs and create a new generation of Thai weaving artists.
For the campaign, three workshops have now been hosted starting off at Sakon Nakhon on April 5, 2021, Maha Sarakham on April 6, 2021, and later on at Khon Kaen. For each practical workshop, we saw a manifold group of judges, designers, experts in various fields including local weavers together as part of the roadmap.
The activities involved an array of interesting topics from ‘Natural colouration with local Thai silk’, ‘A traditional yarn spinning’ to talks surrounding ‘Contemporary use of Thai fabrics’, ‘Quality of silk fabrics and native cotton varieties’ and ‘Storytelling and packaging’.
The prize for the winner – that many weaving contestants have laid their eyes upon – is a gold medal, designed by a famous painter, that will be bestowed to the winner from HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya herself at this year’s OTOP City opening ceremony.
To seize this one-of-a-kind opportunity, prospective contestants can submit their applications to all the Community Development Department offices nationwide by April 30, 2021, and send in their royal-patterned creations by May 12, 2021. For those interested, the next workshops will be held in Lamphun, Uthai Thani, Surat Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima and Buri Ram. To find out more, visit the Facebook page, Pa Thai Sai Hai Sanook, for more information as to the contest, as well as future workshops.