Textile maker a proud title winner

Mrs Khaisy Sorphapmixay, 56, a textile maker from Nongbuathong Neua village in Sikhottabong district, Vientiane, is very proud of two contest titles she won recently.
Attending the annual Lao Handicraft Festival, Mrs Khaisy won awards for Beautiful Stall Decoration and Best Product.  These were the only two competition categories at the event organised by Lao-ITECC. The Beautiful Stall Decoration was awarded by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. The Best Product was awarded by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce with the support of JETRO.

Mrs Khaisy and her husband proudly show the prizes they won at this year’s Lao Handicraft Festival.

Mrs Khaisy was one of many contestants trying hard to win the competitions.
The prizes for each title comprised cash, a trophy and a certificate.
Mrs Khaisy said she was proud and very happy to have won both titles and that it means a great deal to her.
The Beautiful Stall Decoration competition was judged on the criteria that it must showcase Visit Laos Year using natural materials and highlighting traditional Lao culture. The Best Product was judged on the niceties of interior home decor.
Mrs Khaisy lined her stall with bamboo, giving it a rustic feel. She made lamps using genuine silk and decorated her stall with many other interesting and beautiful natural items. Her stall was classical in design and unique in character.  It won the Beautiful Stall Decoration award amidst widespread agreement on the decision.
Mrs Khaisy’s Best Product creation was a colourful, traditional wall hanging featuring a large butterfly on paper. It was simple yet elegant and was also a popular choice for Best Product.
Mrs Khaisy said “It’s not easy to win a title and it’s much more difficult to win two at the same time, especially since there were so many other strong competitors here today. I really tried my best with both the stall decoration and the wall hanging.”
“I would like to thank the committee and authorities for organising this annual handicraft festival and competition. The event offers a chance for handicraft and textile makers like me to showcase our products and the competition gives us a chance to show the skills we have using our hands.”
The competition is somewhat of a tradition at the Lao Handicraft Festival.  Each year the themes and criteria for judging are different. Visit Laos Year was the overall theme for this year’s competition. 
Mrs Khaisy’s double victory establishes her reputation as one of the best handicraft makers in Vientiane.  Prior to this year, she had won the Best Product Award three times at the festival. 
She said “I have been taking part in the competition since it first ran.  I’ve been lucky and unlucky before, but winning both categories this year takes the cake.”
Mrs Khaisy is the director of Khaisy handicrafts based in Nongbuathong Neua village, in Sikhottabong district, Vientiane. She was born in Huaphan province and has been involved in textile production for more than 40 years. 
She has been a member of the Lao Handicraft Association for many years and tries to preserve and promote the traditional patterns of Huaphan province in the pieces she produces.  Sometimes these traditional patterns are fused with other patterns creating a modern aesthetic.
Mrs Khaisy leads her family in making scarves, traditional skirts and many other items made from real silk.  Her products are exhibited and sold in Vientiane and the provinces, and she exports to Japan as well.
Mrs Khaisy says she learnt to make textiles from her mother when she was a child.  After deciding that being in the military wasn’t for her, she turned her attention to textile making as her main occupation.
 Mrs Khaisy said “I love this job. In the past it helped my parents generate enough income to support us children and send us to school. Now, it gives me a regular income too. This truly is a family business.”
“I have also been giving lessons to my children. My daughters in particular want to learn and preserve our family tradition.  Even if it doesn’t become their main job in the future, I’m glad they will have the knowledge and skills to make quality items.”
“I have improved my products over the years and they are quite different from items made by other producers. We make our things prettier, more colourful and more attractive than other garments. I sell them at very reasonable prices too.”
“It isn’t easy to make textiles. Time and patience is needed for really neat work. Only people who love this job can do it well. I will continue doing it for as long as possible and want to keep improving each day. I’m already thinking about next year’s competition.”

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update December 19, 2018)

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