Feature: London Craft Week kicks off with Chinese craftsmanship under spotlight

(Xinhua) 13:11, May 14, 2024

LONDON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The 10th London Craft Week kicked off here on Monday with hundreds of talents worldwide to celebrate craftsmanship through workshops, exhibitions, and talks across the city.

Among them, several events featuring Chinese arts and crafts highlighted the fusion of tradition and innovation.

At the "Chinese Design: Harmony in Diversity" exhibition, a colorful piece of Miao embroidery, depicting British landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge alongside traditional Miao ethnic elements, drew considerable attention.

The 40-centimeter-square embroidered patch took Yang Shiying, who has dedicated five decades to mastering Miao embroidery -- the traditional artistry of China's Miao ethnic minority in southwest China's Guizhou Province -- about two months to handcraft.

It marked the first participation of Yang and her son, Axin, in the craft week. Their exhibits included suits, bags, and attire adorned with Miao embroidery, showing the art of stitching the intangible cultural heritage into modern fashion design.

"We hope that such integration of old and new can help more people realize that intangible cultural heritage can still exhibit new vitality through fresh and youthful design," Axin, a Miao ethnic designer who founded his own clothing brand in 2007, told Xinhua.

Axin and his mother were not the only participants who made adaptations to traditional handicrafts. At the "Nice to Meet Loong" exhibition, creative cultural products and designer toys inspired by Chinese handicrafts gave visitors hands-on experience of ancient techniques such as mortise-and-tenon joints.

"The skills, material exploration and often spectacular results exhibited invited the audience to engage with peoples and communities far from London," said Simon Fraser, the course leader for MA Design Ceramics Furniture Jewellery at Central Saint Martins, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London, after visiting the exhibition.

"By maintaining traditional knowledge in contemporary culture, we allow cultural values to transcend time," he said.

During the craft week, hundreds of exhibits and workshops were expected to showcase various aspects of Chinese craftsmanship, including porcelain, silverware, lacquerware, bamboo weaving, clothing and jewelry from ethnic minority groups, as well as folk music Nanyin from southeastern China's Fujian Province.

Guy Salter, chairman and founder of London Craft Week, said that China's participation in the event has consistently brought surprises to him over the years.

The fusion of tradition and modernity in Chinese exhibits showcased the rich heritage and vitality of Chinese craftsmanship, said Salter.

"It is important that artists throughout the world can actually learn from each other," said Lise Bertelsen, executive director at the China-Britain Business Council in an interview with Xinhua. She hoped that events like the craft week could foster dialogue and understanding among different cultures.

London Craft Week, a citywide festival founded in 2015, runs from Monday to Sunday this year and is expected to attract about 750 makers, designers, brands, and galleries from around the world.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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