The results of Angkor Handicraft Association’s inaugural souvenir design competition were announced on December 12, and comprised locally made products in five categories.
Each of the five categories had three design winners and three artisan winners – the designer finalists having been paired up with artisans to produce a prototype. One notable design was that of Ploeut Bunnaruon, 26, from Siem Reap, who took first prize in the ‘Angkor Style’ category.
The criteria was to create something reminiscent of the Angkor era, and Ploeut came up with a beautiful elephant/shell hybrid made of copper and coated in silver.
It took Ploeut, who works for the Rattan Association of Cambodia, three days to come up with his winning design. He also took third prize in the ‘art and utility’ category for his vase design.
Ploeut and the other first-prize winners received $250 plus a trophy and certificate.
The association has also opened a souvenir market with 28 stalls on Road 60, selling exclusively Siem Reap items by artisan businesses such as Cambolac and Senteurs d’Angkor.
The idea for the market came from tourists being disappointed to discover that many souvenirs in Siem Reap are actually imported from other countries such as China or Vietnam.
Many of the stalls will hold demonstrations in traditional production techniques, and there is also a plan to display traditional handicraft tools in a designated area of the market, with accompanying explanations.
The market is open seven days a week, from 9am to 9pm.