In April, I was notified about a Thai Style Carving Competition in Los Angeles and was asked to invite my students. It was organized by the Thai Health and Information Services with the intent to preserve and promote one of the most exquisite Traditional Thai art forms (fruit carving) with other communities. I posted the announcement in my blog, and invited my readers to enter the contest. Yolanda Diaz, a student of several of my watermelon carving courses, decided to enter the contest and won! Her beautiful carvings earned her a round-trip ticket to Thailand.
The live carving competition was held on May 16th and each participant had three hours to create their traditional Thai style carving display. Each carving was then judged based on innovation, uniqueness and artistic arrangement.
Shortly after the competition, Yolanda shared the good new with me via email.
I just want to let you know that I got first place on the competition. I’m so excited, I still can’t believe it. Words cannot express my gratitude to you for sending that invitation. Well I guess I better start learning a few words in Thai, because I’m GOING TO THAILAND!!!! :-)”
Yolanda followed up that email with another message with more details about her journey to the Thai style carving competition.
When I got it, I was like, “Wow, I wish I could go.” Well then I posted it on my facebook, like “I wish I could go,” and many of my friends commented on it with phrases like, “Go for it, you got this; you can do it,” but the real issue was time and money. It was less than 3 weeks to get ready.”
She spoke with her boss at Bar Harbor Seafood in Orlando and he spoke with the owner, Jeff Hassel.
When I return on Monday I was told that they were sending me to LA to compete. You can only imagine how happy and excited I was. Then I start to get really nervous, I have never been in California, let alone drive in LA, but well I was encourage by my daughter and all my friends.”
As it turned out, one of her Yolanda’s friends offered to let her stay at her home in Sylmar, a suburb of LA.
I flew on Friday, got my car; ask the guy at the rental car to program the GPS with out major highways and started my adventure.
Here is what Yolana had to say about the competition itself.
Saturday came and I got to the Thai Cuisine restaurant ( I was the first one) there were 10 of us competing, I was the only one from far. The judges were really nice, there were amazing carvings; overall it was an amazing experience.
When they said that I was the winner, I could hardly believe it. It was a dream came true for me. Not only I have visit California, participate on a Thai carving competition, but now I was the winner of a round trip ticket to Bangkok Thailand, and if that was not enough, I will be taking a 3 day class with a Master Carver! and everything started with an invitation that you send to your students, THANK YOU.
( I wish you could of been there, and have the pleasure to meet you personally).
I will encourage everyone, that when they get the opportunity to participate on something like this, go for it. I send you some pictures of the competition so you’ll see, what I did. Again thanks, warm regards, Yolanda Diaz
I think we can all learn from Yolanda’s example. She just went for it. In spite of the appearance of limitations, she let others know what she wanted, and it all came together for her, from travel paid by her employer to a free place to stay. She faced her fear of driving in Los Angeles and arrived safely at her destination. Then, to top it off she won the grand prize!
If you have the opportunity to compete in a competition, give it a try. At worst, you’ll meet other carvers from which you can learn, and have some fun. And who knows, you might even win! Many of my students who have competed for the first time have won or placed in the competition. You can see examples throughout my blog. If they can do it, so can you.
Here are the available photos of some of the other entries from the Thai style carving competition.
Second place was won by Watchara Thamkaew.
Third place was won my one of my original teachers, Tym Chaipanya. I had told her about the competition and she intended to just go and watch. She was persuaded to compete and won 3rd place.
The creators of these 2 following photos of Thai fruit carvings are unknown.
If you would like to see the flyer with more photos on the Thai style carving competition in LA, click here.
Practice your Thai style carving skills now and maybe you’ll be the one to win a trip to Thailand when this Thai style carving competition is held next year!