Weaving the wonder of bamboo

Updated: Nov 24, 2023 By Li Yingxue China Daily Print
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Bamboo-inspired lighting fixtures.CHINA DAILY

"Bamboo weaving lacks documented records, the skills have always been passed down orally. I spent a considerable period interviewing seasoned artisans and meticulously compiling records of weaving techniques," Qian explains.

After around six months, he made four woven bamboo boxes, one of which was acquired by Ma Weidu, a well-known connoisseur of art. This sale brought Qian recognition and generated many new orders.

After understanding the foundational logic of bamboo weaving and the patterns, and unwilling to duplicate his efforts, Qian began to add artistic touches to his bamboo weaving endeavors.

"My artistic innovation revolves around how weaving can convey the essence of the world. For instance, we employ a diverse range of colors to amplify its expressive potential, infusing bamboo weaving with a compelling language."

Many of the pigments Qian uses in his work are extracted from plants, deepening the environmental awareness of bamboo weaving.

Additionally, there is a dynamic connection and dialogue with other materials. "Bamboo's unique combination of rigidity and flexibility, distinct from many other materials like metals or textiles, positions it in an intermediary zone. I believe it serves as an excellent adhesive with other materials," Qian explains.

Bamboo techniques he has developed or improved are now widely used in everything from home furnishings to clothing, part of a growing trend toward replacing the use of plastic with bamboo, that demonstrates a continuity of the traditional Chinese culture in which bamboo has long been cherished as a topic for arts and a material for daily utensils.

He has also taught his bamboo weaving techniques at his alma mater, the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, and says the course is not just about achieving a certain level of proficiency in bamboo weaving, but is designed to encourage open-minded thinking, exploring the ways of integrating bamboo weaving expertise into different fields.

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