Maztermind and the story of traditional Vietnamese crafts
Hermes or Louis Vuitton. They’re both luxury brands that pride themselves on the crafts in manufacturing products. Their products are highly-priced and regarded as top-notch luxuries in the world. Meanwhile, Vietnam also has a tradition of craftsmanship. We have several traditional handicraft villages lasting through many generations, such as Bat Trang pottery and Kim Bong carpentry. Though we can produce crafts with high quality, Vietnam has barely earned as much recognition as these international brands. With a view to bringing the Vietnamese cultural values to the outside world, Maztermind was established as a team of passionate designers and artisans, crafting pieces of board games infused with art and heritage.
How we define craftsmanship
Many people simply regard it as a quality of making things by hand. To Maztermind, craftsmanship is more than that. It’s not just the art of techniques, but rather, the effort and passion the makers put into what they’re making. It's the result of a process that takes countless time to care for every single piece in order to give the user the best experience. It’s a combination of rich heritage, professionalism, and discipline.
The crafts in making certain products could be an intangible heirloom that has been passed down from time to time. For example, Kim Bong carpentry village, existing since the 16th century, has its artisan’s work on houses and furniture across the country from prominent buildings in Hanoi to Hue citadel and royal tombs or most of the architectural projects in Hoi An’s heyday. In that situation, the piece of work crafted by these artisans is much more than just a normal product but the storage of cultural values. The techniques have been inherited and become an heirloom that has been raised from generation to generation. It can be referred to as a manifestation of cultural heritage.
The mastership in crafting demands a great amount of time and endeavor. Those who pursue the job as a craftsman have to devote themselves to refining their skills and techniques for life. Having become an artisan, they might have been taught by the former generations, apprenticed to some experts, or even learned themselves in the field, falling again and again before perfection is attained.
At Maztermind, our makers, though their background is mainly wood furniture crafting, have to constantly learn and hone their skills in manufacturing board games. Most of them even have at least five-year experience in crafting but they’re still passionate about updating themselves, as they know professionalism is an essential quality constituting a real craftsman.
Being disciplined is an essential quality that makes up a good craftsman. Every product has a strict process to complete within an acceptably allotted time, which requires great determination and discipline from the maker. Thus, to produce a standardized board game, they have to rigorously abide by the rules because, in crafting, there’s no place for any mediocrity. Every step is meticulously taken with great care, from the stage of designing to the final piece of art. Materials are wisely chosen for both the look and durability. Integrity and carefulness towards every detail – molding, grinding, and engraving - are always of paramount importance.
Therefore, the products, formed by the hands of the makers, not only possess exquisite beauty but also stand the test of time. Just like Maztermind Trojan Horse Race Ludo, with 16 steps of handcrafting every detail, the artisans have to carefully measure the right amount of each ingredient put in molding pieces; then, sanding has to be taken seriously to leave a touch of comfort and smoothness on the surface, taking up to hundred hours to finish a complete set just to create memorable moments within players.
At Maztermind, we adore and treasure the notion of craftsmanship which brings about irreplaceable values. With all respect to the Vietnamese long-standing tradition of craftsmanship, the existence of several craft villages, and the techniques that have been passed down through generations, we believe Vietnamese craftsmanship should have more recognition from the world. As a team, Maztermind wants to be a pioneer in telling the world the story of Vietnamese crafts. On that journey, it couldn’t happen without you.
We took our first step with board games as we believed they convey much more meaning rather than just simply entertain people. They enhance lifestyle, beautify space and bring people closer. Whenever you play chess, ludo, monopoly, or backgammon, it’s not just about the joy of playing but the exclusive experience that the board games bring to your life. Formed and filled with the emotion and dedication of the Vietnamese craftsmen, every product tells you the story of its creator whose culture worships humane qualities. They can also be considered invaluable gifts imbued with love and caring, which not any non-human factors can ever create.
Our journey has just started. There’s a long way to go. To spread the value of Vietnamese craftsmanship to the outside world and bring more support to the life of artisans and traditional craft villages in Vietnam, Maztermind is enthusiastic about making board games with excellence, on the way to become one of the first crafted brands originated from Vietnam.