Two teachers taught me puppetry –Khru Chuen Sakulkaew and
Khru Wong Ruamsuk. I started taking lessons in 1973. Not long
after this, Khru Chuen asked me to perform in her troupe at
various engagements, such as temple fairs, school fairs, etc. It
was to be experience gained from exposure to real audiences as
well as an apprenticeship under a master.
Khru Wong travelled from Amphawa in Samutsakorn to teach
me puppetry at home. He stayed for several nights at a time and
fastidious in turning me into a good performer. I owe a great
deal to these two great masters for their styles of puppetry.
As far as puppet construction is concerned, I retained
the old puppets I had received from Khru Chuen as teacher and
further valuable advice on making headdresses was offered by
Khru Chit Duangyai.
The first puppets I made had less refined costumes
because I made them on my own from what I had seen without
having been properly taught.
It was not until 1977 that I was introduced to Ajarn Yuen
Bhanudat, an expert in decorative arts. She taught me the art of
embroidery with sequins and gold thread. I applied the knowledge
I gained from her to my puppet theatre and some other works,
such as embroidery for theatre costumes, ladies’ traditional
shoulder cloths and monks’ fans, etc. Ajarn Yuen’s words, that
the embroidery she taught me could be applied endlessly, still
ring true to me. I, myself, have passed on the embroidery I
learned from her to many of my peers and juniors when the
occasion has arisen.
I see the fact that my team consists mainly of painters
as an advantage because we enjoy an exclusive autonomy in
designing, drafting patterns, embroidering, building puppets and
doing our own puppetry.
This puppet theatre is truly a collaborative venture and,
unlike painting which is my principle line of work, I could not
have done it on my own. Its success requires a collectivism that
demands a uniting of many individuals and parties from many
branches of knowledge and expertise.
26 May 2003