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Craftswoman turns wheat straw into works of art

Updated : 2022-07-14
(en.wuxi.gov.cn)

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Chen works at her studio. [Photo/Wuxi Daily]

It's hard to image making an entire artwork out of ordinary wheat straw, but Chen Huiping in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu province, does just that.

Chen started taking a keen interest in wheat straw art in 1986, when she met the then renowned wheat-straw art expert Jiang Kelin.

Although it looks quite simple to make a piece of wheat straw art, the process is quite complicated and involves more than 20 steps, including choosing materials, design, dying, cutting, and pasting.

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A piece of wheat straw art by Chen. [Photo/Wuxi Daily]

The choice of materials is key. The wheat straw used for the work is not ordinary wheat straw, but specially-planted barley straw, which has a wider diameter.

In addition to ordinary tools such as scissors, tweezers, and glue, soldering irons can also be seen on Chen's workbench. Chen said that different temperatures and angles of the soldering irons can create different colors and textures on the wheat straw.

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The Lanting Xu written by Chen with wheat straw. [Photo/Wuxi Daily]

Thanks to Chen's interest in calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting, she has successfully copied Lanting Xu using wheat straw.

Lanting Xu (literally "preface to poems composed at the orchid pavilion"), written by calligrapher Wang Xizhi in the semi-cursive xingshu script in the mid-4th century, is considered one of the greatest pieces of Chinese calligraphy.

Chen has also created wheat straw art in relief and with a stereoscopic effect, and integrated them with seal cutting and other traditional Chinese art, turning a rustic handicraft into a work of art.


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