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Which Way The Grain Flows

Which Way The Grain Flows - Krabi Magazine article

Shaping faces and statures has helped Khun Nit get through some difficult times in his life.

As a young child Khun Nit would spend his days helping his father on his boat, fishing for all types of sealife; tuna, squid, crabs, shrimp and anything else that was in season. His mother would work in various rubber plantations cutting the trees’ lower sections and extracting the sap which would be processed into commercial rubber. His life was simple but sweet, going to school and helping his father in his free time.

When Khun Nit turned 12 his mother came down with a rare form of cancer which was caused by various chemicals used on the rubber plantations. She passed after her battle with the disease and left his father to care for Khun Nit and his other siblings alone.

Loosing his wife completely devastated Khun Nit’s father and left him unable to function in a normal fashion anymore, slowly Khun Nit’s life became more and more isolated. His siblings left the house in search of a better life, his father was unable to care for Khun Nit the way he used to and therefore Khun Nit was forced to leave home and find a new life for himself.

His home province was Satun and is located about 200 kilometres from Krabi province. Receiving a message from a childhood friend that there was a restaurant in Krabi where he could work was all he needed. He booked a bus ticket and came to Krabi to meet with the restaurant owner and discuss options for starting work.

Upon seeing a young 13 year old Thai boy who could not speak any English come into his restaurant the restaurant owner was not highly impressed and enthusiastic about hiring him. After their conversation thought the restaurant owner saw something in Khun Nit. The restaurant owner sent him to another restaurant located on the beaches of Kantiang Bay in Koh Lanta. He was sent to the famous Same Same but Different restaurant with one piece of advice; find a foreign person who can speak English and learn from them.

Soon after arriving in Koh Lanta Khun Nit was fortunate enough to meet a young woman who befriended him and agreed to help Khun Nit learn English. Lucky for Khun Nit this benevolent woman had with her a few English books so Khun Nit and her spared no time. In-between shifts they would sit at the restaurant go over sentences in the book and practice pronunciation. Sure enough in only a short while Khun Nit had enough of a vocabulary that he could begin having simple conversations with patrons. He continued practicing and within a few years he was a master of the language, being the go-to server at the restaurant for all foreign occupied tables.

After his arrival at Same Same but Different Khun Nit was given shelter, a salary, friends and the opportunity to learn but he still felt inside a desire to find some outlet for his personal expression. A place where he could create something new, something unique and something that was his own creation.

Often he would see a fellow colleague combing the beach for driftwood and then carving it into unique figures and designs creating some great artwork. He thought he could do the same.

His enthusiasm started like many hobbies do for many of us, through trial and error. Finding a piece of saturated bamboo and carving an elongated droopy face in the side of it was a great way for Khun Nit to get comfortable with the tools and to start his journey in finding his own style.

His style is something unknown as his talents and ideas are limitless, Khun Nit tells us “I always like to create more, to try new things, to challenge myself to recycle something into art”. Since his journey began into his new life Khun Nit has experienced changes and had many opportunities to better his life. One of these changes was his discovery of wood carving, where he had the creative freedom to make what he envisioned and what he wanted.

Starting out his carvings were not sold in any shop just placed around Same Same but Different restaurant and patrons when they saw something they liked they could ask Khun Nit to make them something similar or something unique. His prices started low because of his inexperience and his lack of knowledge of the going rates but it allowed for patrons to get great work at a very affordable price and kept Khun Nit happy as he always had something to create and work on.

After his mastery of the art and the English language, the owner of both restaurants offered Khun Nit a position at the famous and highly revered Ruen Mai restaurant, where he would be creating artwork for the restaurant, running tables and also interacting with the foreign cliental frequenting the restaurant. Once again he was presented with the opportunity to challenge himself and learn something new as the restaurant owner wanted more unique creations to decorate the restaurant with. Khun Nit came up with a wonderful bamboo woven light covering, a little nervous if the restaurant owner would like the design he was rather shy, but the owner loved it and asked for more only they should all be different designs and shapes. This new creation allowed for him to use natural material, weave every strand together and create shapes from everyday life. Octopus, fish, jellyfish or just a simple ball, they were all shapes and creations available to Khun Nit and he made them all.

Within no time Khun Nit earned himself a right to take a front row seat at Ruen Mai as he was a jack of all trades, decorating, designing, and of course serving tables were his daily tasks.

Shaping faces in Krabi

If you are interested in having Khun Nit make you a truly unique piece of art please visit Ruen Mai and ask for him there, he is always available to talk with patrons about their wishes and needs. 

Ruen Mai:

075-621-387, 089-288-3232

Ruen Mai is located only a short 15 minutes from downtown Ao Nang, taxi’s can be arranged here by calling:

081-968-4598