The Development of Commercial Handicrafts Made From Local Materials (Cultural Capital) to Create Sustainable Local Identity
This article is a part of the Solution to Poverty Project of Khon Kaen University for Model Development Area of Yangtalad District, Kalasin Province, Thailand. The project was funded by the project of Solution to Poverty according to the Concept of Sufficiency Economy. Its objectives were to promote the community’s careers and to process local materials into community products which are environmentally friendly with additional value and more productivity. It also aimed to improve the quality of agricultural produce in accord with the philosophy of sufficiency economy. Farmers were provided with the concept and analysis of basketry products made from rush plants. Rushes are a local material that is commonly found in the community. Being considered as the community’s cultural capital, rushes can help improve the potential of the products with better quality and additional value. Therefore, the farmers’ income increases and the standard of the products improves. These are the potential of the community resulted from local wisdom which has been continued for a long time as social heritage. The operation started via the coordination with sectors related to the model area of sufficiency economy, this helped create integration of the bodies of knowledge between lecturers, students, and people in the community. The thinking and analysis process resulted in the making of the community brand and the use of local materials in designing new products. Rushes, with the administration of cultural capital, were processed to create new products in order to develop value creation economy. The operation was analyzed according to the concept of creative economy and using SWOT analysis. Its strengths were the distinction of the cultural capital (materials, patterns, colors, designs, and artisans) and the idea of application. Its weaknesses were the creative products (the new designs and the actual application of the concepts). By the focus group discussions, the product models were successfully created and provided to the model career group. This success could not happen without the use of the bodies of knowledge and the local wisdom in the creation of such commercial products made from local materials. In addition, this helped promote community careers and create additional value which was environmentally friendly while sustaining its local identity.
Keywords- commercial handicrafts, local material, cultural capital, local identity