Show­cas­ing skills from 20 coun­tries

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By DENG ZHANGYU dengzhangyu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

With a his­tory of pro­duc­ing silk and silk-re­lated prod­ucts that goes back thou­sands of years, Hangzhou, the host city of the G20 Sum­mit, is stag­ing an event of fiber art in­volv­ing artists from around the world to ex­plore the charm of one of the old­est art forms in hu­man his­tory.

The 2nd Hangzhou Tri­en­nial of Fiber Art at the Zhe­jiang Art Mu­seum, which opened at the end of Au­gust, has at­tracted 60 in­flu­en­tial artists from 20 coun­tries.

The con­cept of fiber art may not be very fa­mil­iar to mem­bers of the pub­lic, but when you speak of em­broi­dery, crossstitch­ing and car­pets, it re­lates to peo­ple’s daily lives, says Shi Hui, the founder of the event.

“The ma­te­ri­als used in fiber art are the clos­est to our bod­ies and our daily lives,” says Shi, who is now the di­rec­tor of the fiber art de­part­ment at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.

In keep­ing with the theme of the tri­en­nial, called Weav­ing & We, the event en­cour­ages pub­lic in­volve­ment in the event, ei­ther by ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the in­ter­ac­tive art­works or tak­ing part in work­shops con­ducted by the artists.

In 2013, Hangzhou held its first edi­tion of the fiber art event, which at­tracted thou­sands of vis­i­tors.

It was the first time that the pub­lic was in­tro­duced to the con­cept of fiber art.

Shi, the founder, says the plan to hold the event was not based on a whim.

In fact, it was Bul­gar­ian Maryn Var­banov’s idea in 1988 to hold a fiber art event in Hangzhou in 1992.

Var­banov, who came to Hangzhou to teach fiber art in the 1980s, in­flu­enced a group of Chi­nese artists to fo­cus on it, and Shi was one of the master’s stu­dents.

How­ever, Var­banov passed away in 1989 with his dream un­ful­filled. It took decades of work be­fore Shi could make the dream come true.

Sep­a­rately, Shi says fiber is nowa­days not lim­ited to silk and wool, thanks to the de­vel­op­ment of technology.

Glass, pa­per and even stain­less steel is now in­cluded into the cat­e­gory.

“Fiber art is not only about the ma­te­rial it­self. It also in­volves so­ci­ety, in­dus­try, the en­vi­ron­ment and technology,” says Shi.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will run through Oct 25.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Maria Lai’s ScalpBook is a cloth book with words ren­dered in thread. It’s on dis­play at the Hangzhou show.

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