Arts and crafts in old longtang

16:18, August 20, 2010      

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  White-collar "students" learn various arts and crafts at workshops and studios in Jing'an Villa in Shanghai.(Source: Shanghai Daily)

  The renovated Jing'an Villa longtang community is filled with inviting galleries and nooks offering courses in flower making, jewelry designing, cookie baking, tea culture and wine tasting. Xu Wei reports.

  Wu Di, a young professional with an arts organization, has wearied of the usual partying, dining and karaoke. She now likes more tranquil pastimes, like making artificial flowers and painting T-shirts.

  "I like do-it-yourself workshops such as flower making - they are calming and are perfect for young white collars who need time out," she says.

  Wu attends a DIY jewelry- and accessory-making workshop by Japanese handicraft artist Hiroko Ibuki at the Plum gallery/cafe in an old shikumen (stone-gated) building on Nanjing Road W. There are also occasional longtang (alleyway) concerts and small screenings of independent films.

  Workshops are held on Thursdays and Sundays. Registration is required.

  The small inviting gallery is part of the renovated Jing'an Villa longtang area where there are many other kinds of classes.

  In preparation for the World Expo 2010, the area got a big makeover, with modern amenities, faux brick facades, concrete lanes to replace paving stones, decorative medallions and other features. It also aims to attract Expo tourists who want to visit traditional longtang communities.

  Jing'an Villa offers many workshops: oil painting, folk art and crafts, wine tasting, tea culture, baking, gemmology and jewelry design, among others.

  Students can learn how to make kites, windmills and traditional cloth shoes, while the nearby Hypo Cafe is a gathering place for many amateur photographers.

  Many are hosted by the city's colleges and educational institutes and some run for several months.

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