ambodia has an age-old textile and woodcarving tradition backing in Angkor period, this culture has survived through the centuries and was admired by travellers and neighbour kingdoms until the Khmer Rouge and civil war times, when artisans have been persecuted and their art and knowledges almost disappeared. In recent times, the country witnesses a rebirth of its rich craftsmanship inheritance and handicrafts are recognised as an important development lever for Cambodian local economy, especially in rural area. Watthan Artisans Cambodia has been one the first social enterprise to participate in this resurgence. The brand distinguish itself in its exclusive designs, that are taking the best from the past while updating it to modern standards and tastes, thanks to the team of highly skilled and fully trained artisans who are working in the Phnom-Penh workshop or in villages.
Watthan Artians Cambodia is reknowed for its mastering of handweaving and refined weaving techniques as Ikat.
Ikat is an old-age weaving process. It is particularly complex and requires a high amount of skills and patience from the weaver. In Cambodia, Ikat is associated with sophisticated, traditional formal and celebration clothes. After cleaning, softening and spinning the thread, the weaver is putting it into a frame . She designs the
pattern by knotting strings on some parts of the threads that do not have to be dyed in the selected color. Uncovered yarns are dyed while the ones cover with a string remain blank. Then, this operation is repeated with the other colors of the pattern until all yarns are dyed. At the end of this process, the loom is prepared and weaving can start. During the whole process the weaver should have the pattern in head, their memorization ability is a crucial point for succeeding in each steps.
Watthan plays with tradition and mix this type of weaving with other techniques like diamond pattern and twist it with unconventional colors to bring modernity and freshness.
Cambodian garments industry employs many women throughout the country but often not guarantee decent working conditions to them. Watthan Artisans Cambodia secures for its tailors safe working environment and facilities, fair wages and extensive training. From pattern-making to finishing, each step of their work is guided by a deep attention to the details.
Watthan offers a full range of modern and practical accessories made of our iconic ikat habdwoven fabric, fine silk or upcycled material. Tailors can also express their talent and creativity with a ready-to-wear line, that combines comtemporary designs and comfortable volumes.
Woodcarving is part of Watthan Artisans Cambodia identity since its very beginning as it was first established as a training workshop for young disable carvers. Today, the workshop located in Phnom Penh still train young carvers and produce pieces of art and furnitures both for Watthan shops and special orders from customers.
Our artisans are working high quality woods with traditional tools and ancestral techniques. They are inspired by classical khmer ornaments and religious or mythological figures. Product range goes from practical and everyday objects to refined sculptures or decoration objects.