- Why do you want to spread the craft of rattan weaving?
- Do you think making rattan handicrafts is complicated?
- What do you think of the current development status of rattan weaving?
- What do you think is the future of the inheritance of rattan weaving skills?
Rattan weaving has long been intertwined with traditional Chinese furniture. During the Tang Dynasty, rattan weaving techniques developed as people started incorporating rattan into furniture. By the Song Dynasty, it was commonplace for traditional Chinese furniture to use rattan mats for beds, daybeds, and chairs. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, rattan was used even more extensively in furniture. The rattan furniture from the Ming and Qing periods was crafted with astonishing intricacy and fineness, leading modern observers to marvel at the achievements of rattan mats throughout the long history of Chinese civilization.
With its soft, breathable, comfortable, natural, and artistic qualities, rattan weaving carries the allure of traditional handicraft and is often incorporated into designs by leading artists.
In today's movement back towards tradition and promoting the spirit of master artisans, we found rattan weaving artisan Chen Liangshun, who has practiced rattan weaving for over a decade and woven rattan mats for countless pieces of furniture. His exquisite skills have won recognition from many industry insiders and slowly brought him onto the international stage.
Today, we have the privilege of speaking with Master Chen Liangshun about rattan weaving.
Why do you want to spread the craft of rattan weaving?
"When I was little, relatives from the countryside would bring rattan chairs as gifts. Lying on them felt comfortable and smelled great since they were made entirely from natural materials without artificial chemicals. As a child, we received chairs and all kinds of baskets for holding things and some small, delicate crafts like pen holders, which I feel nostalgic for. By chance, I discovered the raw materials for weaving rattan in the countryside, which sparked my passion for spreading the craft of rattan weaving."
Do you think making rattan handicrafts is complicated?
"A finished rattan product requires 18 complex steps: selecting the rattan, washing it, building the frame, peeling the rattan, initiating the weaving process, crafting, bleaching, and more. The standard length of a rattan strip is 15.24 meters, while the common width ranges from 30.5cm to 61cm. Extra-wide sizes range from 76cm to 91cm, which are used for special woven patterns. As for color, most pieces retain the original light yellow hue of rattan or undergo a bleaching process to achieve soft and elegant white ivory. Some variants are colored in shades such as coffee and brown. The process itself is intricate, but at present, I find great enjoyment in weaving rattan."
What do you think of the current development status of rattan weaving?
"In recent years, with the growing popularity of returning to nature, rattan weaving has come back into fashion and become a new trend in home decor. Many interior designers also incorporate this traditional material into modern designs, trying to use 'old' things to express new design thinking. I'm thrilled to see this positive change, which gives me more confidence in inheriting the craft of rattan weaving."
What do you think is the future of the inheritance of rattan weaving skills?
" I lean towards combining traditional crafts with modern production techniques and design concepts. Based on the flexible nature of rattan strips, I've also made wall hangings, lamps, flower racks, ornaments, and furniture. At the same time, I also incorporate some fashionable elements to make it more popular."
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