Who we are

Our organization

Artisans of Silver is a social initiative created in 2013 by the organization Il Nodo, a non-for-profit organization based in Milan, Italy and in Phnom Penh operating in Cambodia since 2008.

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Our vision is of a future where “Made in Cambodia” is synonym to beauty, high quality and uniqueness of the product. Our mission is to work along with young Cambodian artisans helping them to develop their own creative potential, master traditional and new techniques of craftsmanship and produce innovative designs.

Working together (and with common objectives), Il Nodo and Artisans of Silver are promoting creativity and unique designs, ensuring the survival of traditional techniques, and providing young artisans and their families a way to escape the circle of poverty.

These artisans come from difficult and disadvantaged backgrounds and had to struggle until they had the opportunity to be part of the “Bottega dell’Arte Project”. They then trained for two years with a local master silversmith and attended workshops with Italian designers to develop their creativity and innovation. Today, they are part of the newest generation of talented Cambodian artists, keeping the traditions alive. The Artisans of Silver workshop is their space to innovate and create their own carefully crafted pieces of jewelry.

All of our exquisite designs are sold in Cambodia and exported to several countries around the world. The profit made from the sale of the objects goes back directly to funding the project of Il Nodo and the training of more young adults from disadvantage backgrounds.


Our artisans

Lun Phanna

First class graduate Lun Phanna is the living proof of the success of the Bottega dell’Arte project. Orphaned and exposed to unspeakable violence during his childhood, Phanna disliked studying and dropped out of school at an early age. 

Baby with parents

As he approached the age of 18, he found his way to the Bottega dell’Arte project, where he had the opportunity to discover his talent, refine his skills and learn from scratch a profession that would grant him a better quality of life in the future.

“During my training in the workshop, I started seeing beautiful things emerging from my hands,” Phanna says today. “I felt proud of what I was doing, and I knew that the Italian designers who taught me respected me and admired my work, which encouraged me to do even better.”

Today, Phanna is not only an artisan but he is also a teacher at the Bottega dell’Arte. Phanna is very proud to be sharing his expertise with young students who are very eager to follow on his steps.

He has also become a family man, he is married and has a daughter, and he is proudly able to provide a good life for his family.


Ry Sangha

Originally from the Kampong Thom province, Ry Sangha, had to work in a rice field until he graduated from high school at the age of seventeen.

Sangha

Sangha heard of Il Nodo and the Bottega dell’Arte project through his cousin and, motivated to change his current situation as a rice picker, decided to apply and was successfully admitted to the course.

Il Nodo not only provided Sangha with a safe and comfortable place to work into, food and housing allowance but also gave him the opportunity to learn about discipline and creativity.

After two years in the Bottega dell’Arte, Sangha was offered to be part of the staff of Il Nodo as a master silversmith and teach new students all the skills he was able to learn and develop during his training.

Sangha feels proud of everything he has accomplished with Il Nodo, he is motivated to continue working with the organization and change the lives of other students in the same way that Il Nodo changed his.

Sangha is married to Sienghai and they plan to expand their family very soon.



Hun Kea

Hun Kea grew up as an orphan, he and his older sister lived in the slums of Phnom Penh nearby Il Nodo with their grandmother.

Kea was not able to go to school and was forced to work different jobs to provide for his family; he picked morning glory in the lake and worked in several construction sites and still was not able to make ends meet.

Hun Kea

Father Mario, from the local Catholic church, reached out to Kea and asked him whether he had any interest in joining Il Nodo.

Although Kea was not familiar with the silversmith trade, he decided to join Il Nodo and Bottega dell’Arte in an attempt to overcome the difficulties he had been facing throughout his life.

“During the training I learned how to love my work, keeping my working and living space clean at all times and how to work with other people respecting and learning from each other” says Kea.

After the 2 years training, Kea was given the opportunity to be part of Artisans of Silver as a staff member, he is married to Sreytouch and they have a newborn daughter.