The handicraft trend is sweeping through Ho Chi Minh City, as office workers throughout the southern metropolis fill their free time with class ranging from pottery to perfumery.
Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, 37, spends nearly every Sunday at a pottery workshop with her son, focused on picking up a new relaxing hobby rather than wasting time and money shopping.
“I can finally enjoy myself without relying on technological devices like most people nowadays,” Thu shared while holding her freshly-made vase.
Guests at the pottery workshop spend the day learning various pottery techniques and turning different shapes and patterns into household decorations.
Thu’s son, nine-year-old Nguyen Nhat An, joins her each week to create plates and pots, a needed break from his perpetual attachment to a smartphone.
Other pottery workshops in the city offer classes for beginners as well as three-month long courses, drawing in both Vietnamese and foreign students willing to pony up VND150,000 to VND2.5 million (US$6.5 to $110) per session.
“We want to create a relaxing and tech-free environment for people to practice pottery-making skills, as well as promote Vietnamese traditional culture to foreigners,” said Anny Chen, the Taiwanese owner of a pottery shop in Ho Chi Minh City.
|Youngsters make natural perfumes to their own preferences in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Minh Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
Aside from pottery classes, workshops offering lesson on handmade cosmetics and perfumes are also rising in popularity amongst Saigon’s citizens, including Summer Perfume – a perfume making workshop that attracts both male and female customers.
For just a few bucks, Summer Pefume students learn how to create their own perfumes from different natural ingredients such as citrus peels, green tea, and fruit scents.
Tran Ngoc Minh Thuy, 25, shared that it wasn’t until she took the Summer Perfume course that she finally found the perfect scent for her.
Others are just curious about what goes into building the perfect smell.
“An interest in odors and essence led me to this workshop,” said Le Tung Bach.
Nguyen Le Quynh Nhu, the course instructor, said that she hopes the workshop can be a platform for her to share her knowledge of scents with others who share her interest in perfumes, as well as natural lip balms and organic soaps.
“I want to create an exclusive Vietnamese perfume brand with products made entirely from high-quality domestic ingredients,” she said.
|Foreigners enjoy making DIY handicrafts after long working hours in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre|
Tang Boi Quan, the 30-year-old owner of a cosmetics brand, also organizes DIY workshops to teach others how to make lipsticks using Vietnamese natural oil essence and international standard waxes.
“Natural things fit everyone, including those who are sensitive to chemical-based products…like me,” said Quan with a smile.
|Nine-year-old Nguyen Nhat An expresses the excitement of holding his masterpiece at a pottery workshop in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre|