The creative modern aesthetic of the designs, ranging from decorative lacquer boxes to statuary such as Buddha, injects new life into the Cambodian handicrafts sector and contributes to the expanding Siem Reap arts scene. The lacquering process is complex and takes five to seven days and involves meticulous polishing and sanding before the finished product is left in a dust-free room for three days to dry.

After the Buddhas came more ideas including lacquered elephants, geckos, pigs and the newest addition: flat, candy-coloured fish mounted on sticks that are virtually impossible not to touch appreciatively as you walk by.

Various savoir-faire and works-in-progress can be observed at the atelier … Skilled art trainees work here under Theam's personal tutelage whose main objective is the teaching as well as advocating the value of authenticity and quality. Since its opening, scores of apprentices have been trained in a variety of artistic disciplines.