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Vietnamese art collective makes truchigraphy from agricultural waste

Monday, February 21, 2022, 09:54 GMT+7
Vietnamese art collective makes truchigraphy from agricultural waste
Trucchigraphy artwork at Truc Chi Garden, a center run by artist Phan Hai Bang at 5 Thach Han Street in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

For ten years, artist Phan Hai Bang and his Hue-based team have devoted themselves to developing a distinct style of paper-art called trucchigraphy in Vietnam.

The name trucchigraphy stems from the Sino-Vietnamese term ‘truc chi,’ which directly translates to 'bamboo paper.'

The name trucchigraphy revolves around embossing and debossing paper made from the fibers of bamboo.

Having been created in the early 2000s by Bang and his colleagues at Hue University in Thua Thien-Hue Province, trucchigraphy is a relatively modern artform, though the traditional methods trucchigraphers use to make paper from bamboo fibers have been around for much longer.

A trucchigraphy artwork at Truc Chi Garden, a center run by artist Phan Hai Bang at 5 Thach Han Street in Hue City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

A trucchigraphy artwork at Truc Chi Garden, a center run by artist Phan Hai Bang at 5 Thach Han Street in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Aside from bamboo, Bang and his team also create trucchigraphy from agricultural waste including bagasse, straw, and corn stalks, as well as the natural fibers from water hyacinth.

Creating trucchigraphy starts with making the paper. After cleaning the agricultural waste and soaking it in lime water, artists blend the material with pulp.

They then put the pulp into water and use a mould and deckle to shape the pulp and create layers of paper.

Afterwards, a high-pressure water nozzle is utilized to spray water on the wet paper and ‘sculpt’ imagery.

Differences in the thickness of certain details help to give rise to different effects when light interacts with the piece.

The last step in the trucchigraphy process is to dry the work.

Trucchigraphy artworks under the light at Truc Chi Garden run by artist Phan Hai Bang in Hue City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Trucchigraphy artworks under the light at Truc Chi Garden run by artist Phan Hai Bang in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, VietnamPhoto: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Trucchigraphy is becoming more and more popular and it has been honored at many festivals and events in Hue City, according to Phan Hai Bang.

Those who adore trucchigraphy not only buy the art but also learn how to make their own.  

“With the results we have seen after working with young people, students, and designers, we completely believe that the young will help trucchigraphy become a unique cultural aspect of Hue in particular and Vietnam in general, as that generation is agile and has the ability to access knowledge quickly," Bang said.

"The development of science and digital technology will also be helpful to the growth of truchigraphy."

Artist Phan Hai Bang talks with visitors at Truc Chi Garden in Hue. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Artist Phan Hai Bang (second left) talks with visitors at Truc Chi Garden in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Every year, Bang organizes trucchigraphy workshops, as well as running projects which combine it with traditional art forms, such as 'ca Hue,' a classical style of Vietnamese music native to Hue.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung from the north-central province of Quang Binh has been making trucchigraphy for the past five years and said she fell in love with the art form at first sight.  

“I love trucchigraphy because it allows artists to be as creative as they can be and to be inspired by what they experience in everyday life,” Dung said.

Artist Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung works on a trucchigraphic non la (Vietnamese conical hat) at Truc Chi Garden in Hue. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Artist Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung works on a trucchigraphic 'non la' (Vietnamese conical hat) at Truc Chi Garden in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

A close up of trucchigraphy on a non la (Vietnamese conical hat) at Truc Chi Garden in Hue. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

A close-up of trucchigraphy on a 'non la' (Vietnamese conical hat) at Truc Chi Garden in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Trucchigraphy can be use as interior decoration. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Trucchigraphy can be used as interior decorations. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Below are photos capturing the process to create a trucchigraphy artwork at Truc Chi Garden:

Bamboo pulp is processed to be turned into paper. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Bamboo pulp is processed to be turned into paper. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Corn pulp from corn stalks is ready to be turned into paper. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Corn pulp from corn stalks is ready to be turned into paper. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Artist use a mold and deckle to make paper for trucchigraphy at Truc Chi Garden in Hue. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

An artist uses a mold and deckle to make paper for trucchigraphy at Truc Chi Garden in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Artists use a high-pressure water nozzle to spray water on the wet paper to ‘sculpt’ the patterns they want at Truc Chi Garden in Hue. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

An artist uses a high-pressure water nozzle to spray water on the wet paper to ‘sculpt’ the patterns they want at Truc Chi Garden in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

A close up of a pattern created after being formed under a high-pressure water nozzle. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

A close-up of a pattern created after being formed under a high-pressure water nozzle. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

The final result when a piece of trucchigraphy interacts with light. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

The final result when a piece of trucchigraphy interacts with light. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Visitors watch an artist making trucchigraphy at Truc Chi Garden. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

Visitors watch an artist making trucchigraphy at Truc Chi Garden in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

A spectator learns about trucchigraphy at Truc Chi Garden. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

A spectator views trucchigraphy works at Truc Chi Garden in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre News

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Hoang An - Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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