Wood carving is attracting young and skillful craftsmen
The quintessence of the traditional occupations
Growing up in a family with 2 generations attached to embroidery, Mr. Le Van Kinh, currently the owner of Duc Thanh Embroidery Shop at 82 Phan Dang Luu Street, Hue City, has still shown his passion for every needlework art and embroidery painting over the past 60 years.
Not only appear in the country, his embroidery products also travel to many countries around the world. In 2007, he was honored with the title of “Artisan of Thua Thien Hue” by the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, then the title of “Distinguished Artisan” by the State President in 2013, and the title of “People's Artisan” in 2015.
Mr. Kinh shared: The joy of an embroidery artisan is to be able to convey the images of his homeland and people into the artworks, create vivid paintings of the Perfume River, Mount Ngu Binh, Thien MuPagoda, the moon landscape of Vi Da, Truong Tien Bridge, etc., while, at the same time training a team of apprentices to be highly skilled craftsmen.
That being said, in order to preserve and promote traditional occupations, along with preparing the adjacent generation of craftsmen, artisans need to make the effort to improve their skills and undergo professional training to make sophisticated handicraft products. Besides, the Department of Industry and Trade should continue to finance modern machinery and equipment so as to create handicraft products combining traditional arts and modern techniques to meet the market demand
Along with embroidery, fine art sculpture is another typical traditional occupation contributing to the creation of many souvenirs and gifts for tourists as well as interior and exterior decoration. Currently, the Province has about 200 fine art sculpture establishments which supply products throughout the country, including many large-scale establishments such as Le Van Truc Wood Workshop in My Xuyencraft village (Phong Dien District), Phung Huu Thai Wood Workshop (Hue City), Phuc Mai Fine Arts Sculpture Workshop (Huong Thuy Town), etc.
According to the woodcarver Tran Van Ngo, owner of Phuc Mai Fine Art Sculpture Workshop, the wood carving market has begun to be increasingly difficult and demanding since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the number of tourists coming to Hue decreased greatly, which has caused many workshops to shift to producing interior and exterior decoration and worship items such as Buddha statues, tables and chairs, wooden paintings, etc.
To create harmonious products of high quality, it is essential for workshops to have machinery and equipment to save labor, while at the same time changing the design and improving packaging. This, in turn, requires the support from functional departments.
Appreciating skilled artisans
As a locality with many famous traditional occupations and craft villages, Thua Thien Hue owns a long history and unique craft techniques with 86 craft villages and 57 individually run traditional occupation workshops, distributed over 123 locations with operation being undertaken according to district level. Up to now, the whole province has recognized 10 craft villages and 20 traditional occupation villages and 15 traditional occupations, conforming to the prescribed criteria, the typical examples of which are embroidery, bronze casting, carpentry, ceramics, jewelry, paper flowers, etc.
Chairman of the Artisan Club, Mr. Hoang Ngoc Tuyen, said that as a locality with many craft villages and traditional occupations, the province has seen many skilled artisans and craftsmen becoming attached to handicrafts over the past time. Up to this point, the whole province has 3 “People's Artisan” owners, 12 “Meritorious Artisan” holders and 37 artisans at provincial level.
For the purpose of promoting the handicraft industry, the Department of Industry and Trade is continuing to implement a plan to propose the competent authorities to consider and award the title of Thua Thien Hue artisan in the field of handicrafts for Vietnamese citizens with permanent residence household registration within in the province who work in the field of handicrafts, understand the occupation deeply, and manage to provide training and promote values of handicrafts.
This is an opportunity for skilled craftsmen to try their best to create new and sophisticated products to assert themselves, while at the same time, honing their skills and gaining experience after joining the Provincial Artisan Club.
According to the leader of the Department of Industry and Trade, associated with the traditional occupations and craft villages are skilled artisans who have built and passed the craft down to next generations, contributing to the preservation and promotion of the occupation as well as handing down handicraft works and products with unique cultural values and creating economic values. In the past years, through programs and capital sources for promoting traditional occupations such as the new rural construction program, the project to restore and develop handicraft industries and traditional occupation villages, OCOP, industrial promotion, etc., handicraft production manufacturers have received investment capital in machinery and equipment with the support level of about 2 billion VND/year.
In 2022, from industrial promotion capital, rural industrial establishments will continue to support about 1.5 billion VND to invest in machinery, provide vocational training, vote on rural industrial products, and participate in product displays at domestic and foreign fairs. This capital will act as a leverage to help establishments promote their capacity and boldly invest in capital to create more products to serve the market.
Story and photo: THANH HUONG