We'd like to introduce you to another Team Leader at Alexander Lamont - Niang Pramoopratam. Khun Niang (Khun is the polite participle used before all names in Thailand) is our resident Master of Straw Marquetry, leading and supervising our largest department. Having joined Alexander Lamont 8 years ago in the nascent stage of our straw marquetry development, Niang arrived already skilled in the ancient art of Thai dessert making. The artistic skills, patience, dexterity and attention to detail honed in the dessert shop were precisely what made her a natural for the slow craft of straw marquetry.
Niang explains how the opportunity to learn something completely new while being involved in training and creating a team has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. In the early days the challenge of understanding the nature of the material while perfecting the traditional techniques was her primary focus. Now, having mastered the methods she looks to challenging herself and the team with new designs and special projects that have required her to travel for installation to such places as Shanghai and Singapore.
Steven Lanham, Operations Manager, adds, "Khun Niang's serene manner and artistic talents have made her an excellent leader for the straw marquetry team. I particularly admire her ability to take on a new challenge and to embrace it entirely. Straw marquetry is an area where we have grown tremendously not only in the variety and difficulty of the design but also in the sheer number of custom projects and the introduction of straw marquetry wall paneling 2 years ago. It's not something we could have done without the right leadership."
When asked about a favorite experience or project she has worked on over the past years she unhesitantly sites the opportunity last year at the Central Embassy exhibition - In Praise of Hands - where she demonstrated her craft in front of a highly curious crowd. Although she always realized that the pieces she was working on at the workshop were special and sold to customers all over the world she hadn't seen or heard first-hand the curiousity involved with this time-honoured decorative art. It was a special moment of pride.
Khun Niang demonstrates her craft at our Central Embassy shop (above and below)
A limited-edition straw marquetry box made by Khun Niang that was challenging because of the precise circular patterns inlaid and over-lapping each other.
Kertas Console with repeating sunburst squares forms a kaleidescope pattern across the table's surfaces.