Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kampong Cham artisan shares his two decade love of recycled crafts

Kampong Cham artisan shares his two decade love of recycled crafts

A sample of some of Phon Phorn’s delighful coconut creations. FB
A sample of some of Phon Phorn’s delighful coconut creations. FB

Kampong Cham artisan shares his two decade love of recycled crafts

Coconuts are a source of both refreshing water and delicious meat. However, many consumers tend to discard the remnants, including the shells, as mere waste. Consequently, very few people value in them.

In Kampong Cham province’s Srei Santhor district, Phon Phorn, a determined 44-year-old resident of Toang Tralach village, has been crafting products from coconut shells for over two decades.

Despite challenges, his unwavering passion for this work not only sustains him but also drives him to pass his skills down to his only son.

Phorn initially trained as a hairdresser in Phnom Penh. He had an epiphany when a close friend introduced him to the Royal University of Fine Arts, recognising its potential for his future plans.

“As I immersed myself in this craft, I developed a deep passion for it, and became truly addicted. I realised it perfectly matched my nature, which is to turn the seemingly useless into something valuable,” he said.

The craftsman has endured many challenges over the past two decades. At times, he has had to diversify his income, taking on other jobs, even working as a construction labourer to provide for his family.

But his determination has never wavered. In fact, he’s more motivated than ever to boost his earnings by continuing to turn coconut shells into ornamental objects.

Today, his livelihood hinges entirely on this business. Whether his products sell well or not, his commitment stems from his deep love for his craft.

Phorn creates a wide array of decorative items using coconut shells, palm seeds, bamboo, and discarded wood.

With these materials, he can create an impressive range of 200 to 300 unique product designs. What’s more, he’s adaptable and can meet specific customer requests, like engraving names or personalising images.

His offerings are diverse, with pieces such as ornamental ants priced at 10,000 riel, to carved coconut shells at 6,000 riel and decorative lamps ranging from $10 to $50, depending on the bulb type and size. Additionally, he boasts a variety of other items, including coconut shell turtles, bamboo creations, and an assortment of pots.

Regarding sales, the owner of this family craft business acknowledges the fluctuating demand. While it provides some support for his livelihood, these products aren’t widely recognised or popular yet. He urges everyone to rally behind and appreciate locally made products.


  • Tensions high ahead of historic Kun Khmer match up

    The long-awaited November 5 matchup between Kun Khmer legend Prum Samnang and Myanmar-Canadian boxer Dave Leduc has become the most anticipated fight of the year. The Wurkz Sena Kun Khmer promotion, which will be held at the Town Arena at Chip Mong 271 Megamall, will see six

  • Manet: Cambodia safe for travel

    Prime Minister Hun Manet acknowledged that Cambodia and China have cooperated to tackle internet scamming, fraud and other cross border crimes, but insisted that the “Kingdom of Wonders” is completely peaceful and safe. He welcomed tourists to come and explore its rich heritage. During a

  • UNESCO formally list Battambang gastronomy

    Battambang, renowned for its cultural heritage, has achieved a significant milestone as the first Cambodian municipality to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). The UCCN unites nearly 300 cities prioritising creativity and cultural industries in local development plans and international cooperation. On World Cities Day,

  • Cambodia pivots to solar, wind energy

    Cambodia is planning a move towards solar and wind energy to meet its rising power demands, according to Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rottanak. On the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week event held recently, Rottanak emphasised the urgency of diversifying Cambodia’s

  • Angkor causeway symbol of Cambodia-Japan ties

    In a historic moment marking another milestone in the 70-year-long diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan, King Norodom Sihamoni celebrated the formal inauguration of a causeway located to the west of the world-renowned Angkor Wat. While presiding over the November 4 ceremony, the King emphasised the

  • Manet calls for Cambodia’s railways to get back on track

    Prime Minister Hun Manet has instructed the relevant authorities to expedite studies into upgrades to the Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk railway line. He suggested that the maximum speed on the line should be increased to 80km/h, in order to expedite the transportation of