Located in Cau Giay District (formerly called District 6 of Tu Liem province), Trung Kinh Ha Village of Trung Hoa Commune is one of Hanoi’s long lasting traditional handicraft villages and is still active now.
This traditional handicraft village was founded more than one thousand years ago with the profession of “Making bamboo incense foot” to sell to immigrants from the North. Through the years, for more income and influenced by market trends, the artisans gradually have changed to make bamboo curtains, bamboo table runners and placemats.
This artisan group has been supported by Craft Link for more than 20 years in designing, product development and marketing their products.
To make a set of placemat with usage function and also being artistic, the artisans have to be very meticulous, hard-working and skillful in production process to create all individual items by hand, but they must still look all the same.
Unlike other artisan groups who use machines to make bamboo and rattan products, Trung Kinh handicraft village group uses only “Giung” plant (a family of Giang bamboo which grows a lot in forest of Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen and Bac Giang provinces) because of its toughness and its body structure to create the smoothness of these placemats.
To complete a set of placemats, artisans must go through many steps, such as: (1) Select size; (2) Scratch the green cover outside; (3) Split bamboo bars into thin strips; (4) Split thin strips into smaller tiny ones by using the teeth then have them whitened with Oxygen; (5) Dry then use the legs for rubbing them; (6) Dye the color and dry ; (7) Weave by hand.
As the products are made by hand with high sophistication and aesthetics so per day each artisan can only weave about 10-15 meters of bamboo curtain in the width of 40cm or 7 meters of bamboo curtain in the width of 70cm.
Machines can support people but to create the “soul” of the products, the skillful hands of artisans are indispensable. So in each placemat you will see the love of the job, the meticulous and talented skills of the artisans when creating products.
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