In a world where mass-produced, identical items dominate the market, traditional crafts play an ever more important role in supporting creative cultural expression. Crafts tie people to their own heritage, whilst promoting dialogue between nations and cultures. A machine-made garment may cost a fraction of the price of a hand-stitched traditional robe, but the contribution that heritage crafts make to cultural awareness, historical research, and the livelihoods of craftspersons is difficult to put a price on. Popular imaginings of the traditional craftsperson might paint him as an elderly creator, preserving ancient craft skills in the same way as they have always been passed on. However, people of all ages and genders engage in craftsmanship - not only conserving traditions but also innovating, improving, and adapting them for contemporary needs and desires.The West has long been fascinated by the East - oftentimes in problematic orientalist and exoticising ways that distorted the realities of people living in Asia. A strong Western appetite for exquisite Eastern handicrafts and products may have contributed to such distortions, but has also fed an international export market of artisanal goods, which continues to this day. In many countries in the Southeast Asian region, craftspeople form a considerable proportion of the workforce - many of whom work small-scale or family-run businesses. These artisans form the crux of national craft industries and are increasingly contributing to poverty reduction and cultural diversity. Supporting artisan crafts is an important aspect of sustainable economic development.The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (or AHPADA for short) recognises the importance of supporting artisan crafts in the Southeast Asian region. The Association supports the dissemination of creative innovation and expertise in the region, while also working to develop training initiatives and thriving small-scale businesses in the crafts industry.