Artisans D'Angkor / by Marek Charytonowicz

I’ve found Artisans D’Angkor in Phnom Penh - they offer high quality Cambodian craft items - from sand and soapstone sculptures, wood carving to various silk items - clothes and home decor. That all sounds very usual for Cambodian tourist industry but what makes them different is the quality and philosophy behind it.

They originate from Siem Reap and here they have two workshops / schools where young kids can join and learn high level craft - from painting to sculpting under supervision of experienced teachers. Majority of the students are disabled - some of them mute - and they come from different provinces. After around a year, they have a profession and go back to their villages and towns to open their own workshops or stay and continue working here.

It’s amazing to see how they work. From ordinary pieces of stone or glued wood to the final perfectly chiseled pieces. My sense of aesthetics was deeply pleased seeing that kind of work in progress and I secretly wished I could stay here and learn the art of wood sculpting. I think they could do very well in London as what they offer - although inspired directly by Cambodian culture - feels and looks like an international slightly posh brand, with surprisingly low prices.

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