In Conversation With

We sat down with Golf at Tanee's Knowledge Community Centre in Ratchaburi, Thailand, where he shared with us his passion for creating unique crafts from banana trees. Dressed in a simple white blouse and khaki shorts, Golf opened up about his life story and his artistic creations.


QA: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Golf: My nickname is Golf, I was born and raised in Ratchaburi. My family is my community. Golf is the president of the community center and enterprise and founded the project Tanee Siam, a project that aims to increase the value of banana agriculture by creating new emblematic crafts that drive and support the community. I enjoy thinking, dreaming, and taking on challenges.


QA: Can you tell us more about the project?

Golf: I come from a family of crafters who have been folding and carving Tanee banana leaves for generations. However, banana agriculture is undervalued in Thailand, so I started the project "Stories of bananas support the community" to increase its value by creating new emblematic crafts that would drive and support the community. By using design inspiration from Thai beliefs and faiths, my crafts highlight Thai identity, and I want Tanee to become the icon of Thailand.

QA: How has your experience with the project been so far? Did you face any challenges along the way?

Golf: Our project has been filled with all kinds of adventures: happiness, sadness, disappointment, etc. But, each product is an art piece that has an effect similar to art therapy, making it my personal therapist. The project has become our home, our community, and our life.



QA: How are the Tanee trees used in Thailand?

Golf: Tanee is a type of banana tree that is not commonly used in Thailand due to superstitions that it is haunted. Scientifically, the reason is different: there are 150 seeds for 1 banana. Hence, when planted with other trees, it overtakes and crowns other trees. Thus, in the past, the elders created a haunting tale to avoid people from farming them.
Furthermore, Tanee is also considered the “queen” of banana trees as it has many beneficial compositions and their leaves are stronger and stiffer than other types.


"By using our crafts, you are not only enhancing your look, but you are also supporting a community and lives."  



QA: How did you come up with the idea to create banana leather?

Golf: I source the trees from the farmers' community, and their plantation and soil are organic, allowing the trees' natural organisms to paint the most beautiful patterns and textures. Once the banana tree blossoms, it will die, so we cut it and use the majority of the trees to create the banana tree leather. We cut the trunk and slice it into thin sheets before sun-drying it. Depending on the climate, the dried color and pattern of the sheets will vary: white for winter, red/purple for summer, and sepia for the rainy season. Next, we combine and iron the sheets to create larger ones. The innovation of Tanee that I created transforms the sheets into leather, gaining strength, durability, and stretchability.

QA: The Tanee banana tree leather is a new innovation. What makes it unique and durable?

Golf: It's not leather; it's made of banana trees. Natural products can be durable, and nature has already proven that. You just need to care for it and treat it well



QA: Who you do work with?

Golf: There are about 30 families, including farmers and tailors, currently involved in the project. We are all equal and work together ethically, moving forward as families by taking care of one another. 


QA: What are your future plans with the project, and what about you personally?

Golf: I want people to remember and hold Tanee close to their hearts. As for my personal goal, I want clear communication with the public, and for people to understand the goals and values of my community.


QA: What does craftsmanship mean to you, and how do you define sustainability?

Golf: Craftsmanship is a combination of knowledge and creativity, while sustainability is about supporting each other throughout the process and bringing out the best in the community and the resources around us. 


QA: Is there anything you would like to share with the person who will purchase your crafts?

Golf: By using our crafts, you are not only enhancing your look, but you are also supporting a community and lives.

QA: How do you feel when people use your crafts?

Golf: I feel joyful and whole. It is more than happiness and pride. It is more than the crafts we create or the money we make. It is the smile on the people's faces.


QA: What is your life philosophy/values and how do they relate to your crafts? 

Golf: “Doing little for a lot while thinking a lot for little investment”

QA: What is your favorite music and quote?

Golf: "We all depend on ourselves. In other words, to help yourselves, you must be yourselves.
As for the music, I like Kitaro - Heaven & Earth. To listen, click