The National Youth Design Award is a new national forum in art field where youths and students can show their ability. This contest was firstly organized in 2017 with aims to uplift design standard at youth level in various fields in a professional way to be universally accepted. It is a way to give an opportunity to students in Thai art and design institutes to use their knowledge and ability in designing and creating works presented to public. Most importantly, they can use these know-hows for benefits of societies and local communities. The Faculty of Decorative Arts, Silpakorn University, is the main sector operating works with other organizations and educational institutions.
In each year of contest, there will be different themes and types of contest such as identity design, product design or environmental design as well as the theme at national level like designing emblem in the occasion of ASEAN presidency of Thailand in 2019 or designing community products. The contest theme in 2020 is design for community product development to promote sustainable community-based tourism. For the design contest in type of clothes, it is to design for developing dyed cloth product from “Maya Dye”
Tham Phranon Mountain in Na Tham Village, Village No. 1, Na Tham Sub-district, Mueang District, Yala province is a location of important tourist attractions including Wat Khuhaphimuk where a large reclining Buddha Image in Sriwichai Era is situated, and Wat Thamsilp Historical Site where ancient paintings with age more than 3,000 years were found. Here is a source of Maya dirt or Bayor dirt originated from corrosion of limestone depositing with plants and bat droppings. In the past, chemical fertilizer was not widely used, and the villagers earned extra income apart from agriculture by containing this Maya dirt in bags for distribution, as it is good fertilizer.
From selling Maya dirt, the villagers noticed that when Maya dirt was exposed to clothes, it was well attached with the clothes that it was hard to wash it out. In 2015, a housewife group was set up to build career for people in the community, and they used such idea to create a community product. They used Maya dirt in tie-dye process for clothes. At present, the group can create tie-dyed clothes in 10 different patterns and they also develop works, inspired by ancient paintings at Wat Thamsilp by creating patterns related to living way of ancient people such as a man shooting an arrow, a person carrying water, to screen on clothes mixed with dyeing until it becomes unique products of Ban Na Tham Community.
The process of Maya dyed cloth making starts from melting dirt from Na Tham or Kampan Mountain in water and filter to remove gravels and foreign objects. At that time, a cloth is prepared for dyeing by starting from washing and sun-drying cloths before folded, rolled or ringed and tied to make patterns when dyeing. Then, it is the process of dying consisting of 2 main methods including cooled dyeing and hot dyeing. Dyeing from Maya dirt will be cooled dyeing while hot dyeing is used with plant dyes such as mangosteen giving pink color, Indian almond leaf giving yellowish green, a hull of golden shower tree giving grey color. When dyed to get intended color, the cloth is cleaned and dried with no exposure to sunlight. When the cloth is dry, it will be ironed and sewn for further distribution.
At present, Maya dye group has 20 members who create several products from brand “Maya Dye” such as a shawl, scarf, cultural-patterned cloth piece, multipurpose cloth, handkerchief (small/ big), fashion bag, pumpkin bag, Thamsilp-patterned bag, pineapple bag, multipurpose bag, yoga bag, green bag. Furthermore, they also extend products from Maya dirt to “salted egg with Maya dirt”, which is salted egg from Maya dirt mixed with salt and ashes. Additionally, the group uses the group’s office as the community learning center to promote tourism of Na Tham Sub-district. Many students, people and staffs from different organizations visited this place and learned for about 400 persons/ week. It is also a hub of souvenirs with unique features of Yala Province.
From potentials of group working and identity of community products, the National Youth Design Award realized importance of supporting and developing the products for highest benefits to the community, and thus it is a theme for community product design contest in type of clothes. The contestants would design ready-to-wear clothes from Maya dyed cloth with combination of small amount of other materials such as coconut shell, embroidery. The villagers have a network of producers and it must be easy for production with no need of high technology or machine.
The contestants are from various educational institutions, and the result showed that Mr. Sutthichet Boonmeerak from the Faculty of Decorative Arts, Silpakorn University won the first prize in clothes design, while the first runner-up belonged to Ms. Napasorn Panitphat, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Chulalongkorn University, and the consolation prize belonged to Mr. Adisorn Salangsing from the Faculty of Education, Khon Kaen University. After the contest, the working group delivered the clothes pattern awarded in this contest to Maya Dye group on 12th September 2020 for the group to further develop and extend the products to people to know Maya dyed cloths of Yala Province better. This can make people to earn income and promote sustainable community-based tourism.
If you are interested in buying Maya dyed products, please make an online order on Facebook Page: Na Tham Maya Dye Group.