BANGKOK — Cards with impossible Thailand winter scenes, meticulous quilling art by the deaf, and a whimsical holiday eggplant are just some of the holiday cards you can purchase as we say goodbye to 2020.
Bangkok Snow Removal
Greeting cards sold by Bangkok Snow Removal depict what Bangkok would have looked like if it snowed – a common childhood wish of many Bangkokians. The scenes include Tuk-tuk drivers huddling for warmth, sweatered dogs hanging outside a snowy 7-Eleven, and Yaowaraj streets filled with snowdrift.
Tim Cornwall, 67, has been running his small greeting card and calendar company for 15 years. The idea came to him after a conversation with too many beers led to the topic, “What would be a company you could start in Bangkok that nobody would copy?”
Soon, a joke turned into a dare, and Bangkok Snow Removal is now selling 18-month calendars (300 baht), greeting cards (six for 200) and postcards (six for 150 baht).
“They’re exactly what Bangkok would look like if it snowed,” the Ottawa native who moved to Thailand in 1997 said. The current set of snowy landscapes is drawn by French artist Caroline Sellier.
Domestic and international shipping available. The desktop calendar’s wooden holders are sourced from a school for handicapped children. Order via firstname.lastname@example.org. The shop will also have a booth at The Hive on Dec.19.
Deaf Catholic Association of Thailand
The delicate filigree cards with Christmas trees and nativity scenes sold at a downtown Catholic church are solely made by Sumalee “Wan” Mookpaksacharoen, 64, one of the 20 members in Bangkok’s Catholic Association for the Deaf.
Sumalee learned the craft from a Singaporean volunteer, with her club mates helping with other parts of the craft that don’t involve quilling.
Narong Thanomlek, 41, founder of the association and a Catholic who graduated in sign language, founded the group in order to provide pastoral care for deaf Catholics, such as sign language support during mass.
“We named the card brand ‘Ephphata,’ a Greek word that means ‘Be opened,’ which Jesus said when he healed the man who was deaf and dumb,” Narong said.
The handmade cards cost 99 baht to 149 baht, and include both religious and non-religious imagery.
The cards have no online presence and can be purchased only at the Assumption Cathedral’s shop on Oriental Road in Bang Rak, Bangkok. Narong can also be contacted at 087-918-9969.
COVID-19 has been a nightmare for producers of small business entrepreneurs, including artists like May Waikittipong, the owner of Pianissimo Press paper goods.
“Small artist businesses were really affected by COVID,” May said. “Usually we can produce a lot of goods since we have somewhat stable sales, but since the pandemic people have been more careful in spending on superfluous goods.”
May has been creating cards and notebooks with her own designs for about 7 years – but when the pandemic struck and closed malls for three months, her income from selling her design goods dropped to zero. She’s even had to pull her goods from storefronts and even close up one of her shops in Thong Lor.
Business has started to perk up in the holiday season – possibly thanks to the eggplant character named “Little Joy” mascoting on her festive cards.
“I saw an eggplant while eating and thought it looked so cute, like a baby,” May said.
Little Joy is the brand’s most prominent mascot and even has his own Instagram account, where May draws him with topical art: with viral rural temple figures, for example. An illustration of Little Joy with a rubber duck hints at his pro-democracy leanings.
Pianissimo Press’s cards sell for 125 baht online and will have a booth at the Glowfish Market in Sathorn on Dec. 19 to 20, where cards will be on sale.