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Vietnamese tourism worker makes fine artworks from lotus leaves, grass

Monday, March 08, 2021, 15:35 GMT+7
Vietnamese tourism worker makes fine artworks from lotus leaves, grass
Thuy Duong, a designer, sews a bag made from ‘co bang’ at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A local woman in Hue, the tourist city in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue, has found a new career path during her stoppage at a travel company due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- creating conical hats and bags from lotus leaves and ‘co bang’ (a kind of sedge).

Ho Suong Lan’s construct of the traditional craft came during a business trip in Indonesia, where she received a lot of compliments from international friends for her ‘non la’ (Vietnam’s traditional conical hat) made from lotus leaves.

Upon returning to Hue, Lan started reaching out to artisans in local craft villages, including Pho Trach Village in Phong Binh Commune, located in Phong Dien District, to learn about such materials as lotus leaves and ‘co bang.’

The artisans create conical hats and fashion bags from these materials and decorate them with colorful patterns.

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

However, Lan realized that the high-value products that require considerable efforts and skills of the craftsmen were underpriced and not popular with customers yet.

Many families with a tradition of the craft turned to other business fields for better income.

“There have been fewer and fewer young artisans," said Lan

"Gradually, only middle-aged and old people stick to the craft to earn their daily living."

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Understanding the problem, Lan cooperated with local artisans to make more customized products.

She purchased raw products from the craft villages and had her team of tailors and painters draw stylized decorations on them to make them more attractive.

Her team turned these items into trendy fashion accessories with guaranteed quality and affordability.

Nguyen Thi Binh, a graduate from Hue University - College of Arts, draws on a bag made from ‘co bang’ at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Binh, a graduate from Hue University - College of Arts, draws on a bag made from ‘co bang’ at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Less than a year since her beginning in the craft, Lan has received many wholesale orders at home and abroad for her products.

“People in Pho Trach Village have understood more about the value of their homegrown products and become more determined in preserving the growing environment of ‘co bang',' Lan said.

"Many people have returned to the craft.”

Her family-run business has also created jobs for many unemployed tailors and artisans in local traditional craft villages.

An employee draws on a bag made from ‘co bang’ at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

An employee draws on a bag made from ‘co bang’ at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A fashion bag made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A fashion bag made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A man delivers a package of fashion items made from ‘co bang’ to a customer in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A man delivers a package of fashion items made from ‘co bang’ to a customer in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A conical hat made from ‘co bang’ is pictured at a production facility owned by Ho Suong Lan in Thua Thien - Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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