Hue artist crafts new bamboo paper
|Pulp action: Phan Hai Bang with an umbrella made with truc chi. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu|
THUA THIEN - HUE (VNS)— Phan Hai Bang, an art lecturer at Hue University of Art, has created a special type of bamboo paper that he hopes can boost the image of local crafts.
As a student in the 1990s, Bang received a special scholarship to study Asian crafts. He came up with the idea of making a type of paper based on traditional Vietnamese papermaking techniques. After studying in traditional craft villages in Thailand, Lao and Viet Nam, he started trial production in 2002.
Today, the paper serves as material for various art, decoration and installation works. One can find handbags, lanterns, gift boxes and umbrellas made from brightly coloured truc chi.
"Truc chi is made from bamboo instead of wood pulp. Its name literally means ‘paper made by bamboo,'" said Bang. "I hope that people will someday know Hue not only for its heritage buildings and fine cuisine, but also craft products."
|Soft lighting: Truc chi. candle covers. — Photo courtesy of Truc Chi Workshop|
The artist produces the paper by cutting bamboo trees into sections and slicing those into thin sticks, which are soaked in water for a night and then cooked in solvent lime for half a day. Cooking the sticks makes them softer, so they can be beaten and grilled into bamboo pulp.
The pulp is mixed with water and poured into a mould to create a sheet of paper, which is then dried under the sun. Finally, Bang makes a graphic on the surface.
The paper is used for many purposes. Thanks to its durability, people use truc chi to make teahouse walls and room dividers; Bang is currently working on projects to illuminate the paper, which also serves as material for painting, embroidery and calligraphy. Each truc chi paper can even be seen as an artwork in itself because Bang creates unique graphics on each sheet. — VNS
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