In conversation with
We're here at Chanaphat's workshop, where the sound of tailored bags fills the air. With passion, Chanaphat shares with us the creative yet challenging journey of turning firehose into practical and cool & practical crafts.
QA: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Chanaphat: My name is Chanaphat, and I'm a cheerful and easygoing person. I'm the founder of a project that upcycles firehose to craft bags, which I started as a university thesis in product design. Despite having two occupations at the moment, I'm hoping to dedicate myself fully to my project soon and expand it.
QA: Can you tell us more about your project?
Chanaphat: I wanted to work with a material that had never been used before and would capture people's curiosity. By chance, I stumbled upon a roll of firehose at my family's home, and I thought it would be perfect for my thesis. The material is very unique and creates different patterns, making every piece a one-of-a-kind item with its own story. A few years later, I turned my thesis into a real-life project.
QA: How has your experience with the project been so far? What challenges did you face in using the firehose?
Chanaphat: It was actually very difficult to find enough firehose material to meet my demands. I initially tried to source it from auctioned second-hand trucks, but the supply wasn't enough. Then, I tried to get it from the municipality, but the process to discard firetrucks was taking too long. Finally, I found firehoses from Japanese trucks that were discarded in Thailand. Also, finding a tailor was quite challenging because the material is so thick and stiff. It took me a whole year to find a tailor willing to work with it, and even then, it takes a lot longer to make each bag than with other materials. For example, with other materials, a tailor could craft 10 bags per hour while for firehose material, it would take 1 bag per hour.
|'The firehose has a story of its own, having saved lives and fulfilled its duties and responsibilities before becoming part of my project. I want people to remember its past role and appreciate its unique story.'
QA: Can you tell us more about the crafts and what makes them so special?
Chanaphat: Each bag is handcrafted, cleaned, and designed by me. The firehose has two layers - the cloth and the rubber layers, making it water-resistant. To increase the water-resistance, I add another cloth layer. What I love is that each piece has its texture and pattern, making the craft authentic. It's important to keep in mind that the material was upcycled, and there may be some original stains that remain despite being cleaned.
QA: How do you design each craft and how long does it take to craft a bag from scratch?
Chanaphat: Each bag is handcrafted, cleaned and designed by me. The first process lasting 2-3 days is to soak and whiten the firehose. The firehose gets hand-scrubbed and air-dried for about a week before getting designed and crafted.
QA: Let’s talk about the people you work with. Who and how do you decide to work with?
Chanaphat: I work with 5 housewife tailors now but finding them was very challenging. Kwan (the lead tailor) interjected: “If it wasn’t for Chanaphat and our relationship, I would have never taken on the project because the material is difficult to handle. I, unfortunately, had a soft heart for her and now that I’m with her, we’ll have to stick together.”(Both laughed and smiled at each other).
CRAFTSMANSHIP & SUSTAINABILITY
QA: What is craftsmanship & sustainability for you?
Chanaphat: Craftsmanship for me is a process that requires manual work for each and every craft. There's no mass production and no shortcut, and it can be difficult and tedious. As for sustainability, it's split into two parts. The sustainability of the material, which is recycled, and the sustainability of the design, which is timeless and can be used by people of all styles.
A MESSAGE TO THE USERS
QA: How do you feel when people use your crafts and what would you like to say to them?
Chanaphat: I feel proud that people use my bags, and I hope they feel proud to use upcycled firehose. The firehose has a story of its own, having saved lives and fulfilled its duties and responsibilities before becoming part of my project. I want people to remember its past role and appreciate its unique story.
A LITTLE BIT MORE PERSONAL
QA: What is your life philosophy/values and how do they relate to your crafts?
Chanaphat: When there’s a will, there will be a success. Just like these bags, it was tough to work with them but I managed to create something out of them.
QA: What is your favorite music?
Chanaphat: Let’s stay together by Al Green for the music. Listen to it here.