The transformation of paper
Since 2012, Vietnam’s fine arts witnessed the birth of a new type of paper-art, art-paper called ‘Truc Chi’- whose term was coined by writer Buu Y - with Truc: bamboo and Chi: paper. According to Buu Y, bamboo is a cultural and spiritual symbol of Vietnam. Truc chi embraces the symbolism with a range of natural fibers, including those from straw, bamboo, sugarcane, banana, waterferns, corn, pinneaple, berries, leaves, grass etc.
First step of making Truc Chi
The process of making truc chi consists of two main stages. The first is the traditional paper-making process. The raw materials are soaked, boiled with lime, ground, and pounded into pulp, then spread evenly on a mold.
The technical term "trucchigraphy" refers to the following; the process of making traditional handicraft paper, the technique applying water pressure (quite common in some countries), and the principle of graphic arts.
Direct water spray onto the plastic mold and material to create pattern by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department
The artist uses high pressure water nozzle to spray water on the wet sheet of paper to change the fibers’ structure, creating different levels of thickness. Through this process, images are formed. The process was then repeated several times..
The artist can also use the water hose as a "paint brush" to sketch "trucchigraphy" on the wet paper sheet and create special effects.
Using jets of water to create graphic arts on paper forms the core idea of truc chi art.
Completed Truc chi art paper
Truc chi allows for rich and complex means of expression. Subtle differences in thickness yield different effects, especially when interacting with light. The effects on the surface depend on the light source. With front lighting, thick parts appear bright in the shade while thinner parts appear darker. Back lighting yields the opposite effect; thicker parts will be darker whereas thinner parts will appear lighter. This flexibility attracts and inspires both audiences and artists.
Truc chi can be a work of art in itself with a strong graphic language. On the other hand, truc chi is always ready to communicate with visual cues placed directly upon it. In addition, truc chi can meet the diverse and special requirements of applied arts like product design, interior and exterior design, fashion, and jewelry design. In particular, it can be applied to traditional handicrafts to create unique products.
Prepare conical hat bones. by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department
Making truc chi conical hat - The frame was made in traditional way.
Cover truc chi paper onto the bones by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department
Cover truc chi paper onto the frame
Checking the product with back light by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department
Checking the product with back light
Drawing cutting edge to apply the paper onto the hat by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department
Use pencil to draw line and assemble Truc Chi into the brim of the hat.
Sewing the edge of the hat by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department
Sewing the frame to the hat.
The Vietnam Truc Chi art is the result of years of independent research by artist Pham Hai Bang since 2000, which then manifested in his research project called ‘Study on paper-making from local materials, with application in teaching, learning and art creation” - together with his colleagues in 2011. Truc Chi products were proud to be one of the welcome gifts to the Emperor and Empress of Japan during their visit to Hue in 2017. Since then, Truc Chi art has been explored to two directions: visual art and applied art, and has earned many awards and exhibitions in and outside of Vietnam.
Content: Vietnam Truc Chi Art
Photo: Tran Tuan Viet