Craftsman devotes himself into Guilloche art

(Xinhua) 13:14, May 28, 2022

Cheng Yucai grinds tools at his workshop in Xinmi City, central China's Henan Province, on May 24, 2022. (Xinhua/Li An)

Guilloche is a decorative technique in which a precise, intricate and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into a material via engine turning. The technique uses a machine controlled by the delicacy of the hand of craftsman. As an important process in making superior watch and jewelry, the art is now mastered by rarely few people.

Cheng Yucai, born in 1978, got to know Guilloche in 2013 when he saw a cigarette case decorated with the technique. He was attracted by the delicacy and decided to devote himself into the art. In 2015, he resigned from his work in a silverwork factory and began his career in Guilloche. After countless failures and costs of materials, Cheng finally created an integrated Guilloche machine, which was granted with the country's patent of invention in 2017. His skills also amazed professional judges during the first national vocational skills competition in 2020.

Nowadays, Cheng's craft has been widely recognized by foreign customers, especially in France and Switzerland, who often book custom-made Guilloche designs from him. Cheng Yucai's workshop, which he names "Sanloutang" and is located in a kiln of Xinmi City of central China's Henan, is simple and crude but quiet enough for him to focus on the art. He moved to the vocational education center of Xinmi after the kiln was flooded by rainfall last summer, waiting for the fix of the workshop.

Guilloche requires delicacy of the craftsman, which includes a dozen processes such as flattening, underlining and carving. The precision is accurate to twentieth of the width of a hair. A simple Guilloche pattern costs seven to eight hours to make with 70,000 to 80,000 times turning of manual operation, while a complex one dozens of hours with more than 100,000 times turning. Any tiny mistake would make the whole work useless.

Nowadays, Cheng has enrolled three apprentices, to whom he teaches all the skills without reservation. Generally grasping the art, his apprentices are ready to take part in a world technique competition in October. "I wish the art would be passed through generations and be known and loved by more people, " Cheng said.

Cheng Yucai selects dyestuff at his workshop in Xinmi City, central China's Henan Province, on May 24, 2022. (Xinhua/Li An)

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Bianji)


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