Khmer Crafts Center to Open

A center to promote traditional Khmer arts is scheduled to hold an open house and crafts exhibition Sat­urday in Takhmau.

The non-profit Lotus Pond Training Center is to offer training courses for Cambodian craftsmen to upgrade their technique and design skills to compete with other countries in the modern market, organizers said.

“We’d like to do something re­vitalizing for the society,” said Sompen Kutranon, co-owner of the Phnom Penh crafts shop Lotus Pond, which started the training project.

The center plans to offer free two-week to two-month training courses next year for craftsmen from all provinces, said Lotus Pond’s co-owner and designer Nivana Cheng.

“What [crafts producers] need is to understand a new concept of quality control, design and marketing. We’re trying to create and introduce a standard of fine products,” she said.

The project began two years ago when a private donor offered money to purchase a hectare of land near the Vissapana Center in Takhmau. Currently on the site are small traditional houses for designers and guests and a workshop space surrounded by a garden.

A crafts showroom is under construction.

“The center is not a just a training center,” Nivana Cheng said. “It will be more like a showcase of the Cambodian traditional culture.”

The Canadian Embassy has donated $20,000 for the construction of the showroom, while the German Embassy has donated $8,800 to purchase an electric generator.

The center’s organizers hope to start offering training sessions when the museum is open within four or five months, but a starting date is not finalized yet.

Saturday’s open house, from

9 am to noon, will feature a traditional Khmer crafts show demonstrated by artisans from Apsara and Veterans International, two other NGOs dedicated to promoting the training of local artisans.

Additionally, lunch will be available for a $5 donation to the training program.

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