Thailand is making a name in the international arena in making steel arts. Many Thai online sites showcase their craftsmanship in the form of Alien, Star Wars characters, Predator, and so on. These are made from scrap metal and are freestanding.
The development of the industry started about 15 years ago. Small and very basic models were being made by independent artists using wire, bolts and nuts. Stick figures, motorcycles and animal models were being made. This was but a hobby and there was no commercial intention behind the creation of these figures, they were just a way of spending time for 12 craftsmen.
After the appearance of the first Predator movie in 1987, this industry experienced its first growth. The artists were by this time adept at basic models and were seeking challenge. So they decided to work together to create a Predator statue, made from scrap metal.
The Thailand manufacturing industry for the creation of metal sculptures could only grow so fast because there was a lot of cheap scrap metal. These were sourced from Ford Thailand, scrap yards, boat manufacturers, military suppliers etc. 5 artists together mad the first Predator, which was 1.5 meters high and took four months. 20 workers also volunteered time to complete this statue. At that time no internet existed, and there were no computer designing, digital photography. The entire design was made from one photo and this was just a poster of the Predator which was imported from USA.
Artists had no design ideas, and no plans on how to start construction. The work was basically a social activity. A three dimensional frame was made from wires and artists searched through the masses of scrap metals and discussed which parts would look good on the statue. Drinking was as much a part of the event as was construction. The artist voted to complete the job if anyone thought there were improvements to be made.
The finished statue was not sold but passed between the people who made it. Finally it was donated to charity. But the legacy that was born never ceased to exist. Now it is a bit difficult to get the workers with skill and team spirit. But once such a group is assembled, they work with a great sense of family spirit. They share the glory of making a statue and are happy to assist each other.
Thailand has developed a great hand crafted steel works industry. There are many people involved in this business and they are getting great offers as well. For example, the Art From Steel, Thailand’s largest manufacturer of steel art, gets regular offers to make factories replica, Alien V's Predator bar furniture, symbols and gift items. Science fiction seems to be the most attractive of the works. Along with the Aliens, Star Wars and Predators, they are also producing Terminator, Gremlin etc designs as well. So it is becoming a good source of revenue for the Thailand people as well. There are scopes for major developments in this sector.
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