Monday, September 22, 2008

Honeymoon in Vietnam: Day 2 Continued

We´re currently in Graz, Austria visiting my sister-in-law and her family, but we have some down time and I figured I might as well get caught up on blogging.

Still on our second day of honeymoon, after the ceramics factory, Rico and I visited a beautiful little village that is a UNESCO world heritage site and renowned for their traditional paper and print-making crafts.

Apparently every family in the village used to participate in the traditional art, but now only 2 artisan families remain because more money can be made in other occupations. To Vietnam´s real credit, there is a significant and visible effort being made to save these dying artforms, including a strong linkage with the tourism sector.

Photo of two early printmakers, dated 1938. The wooden blocks used today are, in their majority, still the same designs.

Wooden printing blocks for sale in the shop (of course there was a shop, there always is a shop!)

The master printmaker´s workspace.

Embellished walls and ceiling of the wooden workshop. It was beautiful, like a converted temple. Framed on the wall are 4 original prints over 200 years old.

Inkpad covered with rice-based black ink which incessantly attracted flies. This pad was about 1 meter long.

The printmaker at work. Each color on the print is done separately, with the black outline being the last addition to complete the picture.

All of the inks used are made from roots, plants and minerals. The ricepaper used in printing is made by hand, then coated with a beautiful sheen using the mother-of-pearl insides of clam shells.


NOLAGringa said...

Wow! That's so cool!

OK, you really have me wanting to go now. I just have to wait a couple more months (until I know my final exam schedule) and then I'll book a trip!

Ali la Loca said...

~Nolagringa - Yes, definitely go!!!