In this episode of Radio Ock Pop Tok, we chat with Bookhou Studio’s Arounna Khounnaraj, an artist, maker, and a crafting and mending advocate. Arounna and her husband John Booth, who’s also an artist and furniture designer, co-founded Bookhou to showcase their individual and collaborative work. They are a multidisciplinary studio that emphasizes natural handmade materials and small production pieces. They work with textiles, photography, paper and wood, making limited edition bags, accessories, wall art, furniture and wherever their creative minds lead them.
Arounna is also an author and teacher. Her first book explored the old-fashioned punch needle technique into a contemporary craft phenomenon. Her next book is called Visible Mending: A Modern Guide to Darning, Stitching and Patching the Clothes You Love. Her creative work draws equally on vintage, heritage techniques, although her aesthetic is minimalist and modern.
You may recognise from her name that Arounna is Lao. She immigrated to Toronto when she was only four years old, although she remains rooted equally in her Lao heritage and her Toronto upbringing.
A few years back, Arounna visited us in Luang Prabang and the Ock Pop Tok weavers were thrilled to meet a successful Lao artist. Creative, resourceful and innovative, Arounna is in many ways a perfect ambassador and inspiration for the global community of makers. She is credited with making crafting cool, fun, accessible. And, we wanted to find out the secret to her success.