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DIY handmade items highlight traditional crafts, youth’s creativity in Vietnam

Friday, October 31, 2014, 21:03 GMT+7
DIY handmade items highlight traditional crafts, youth’s creativity in Vietnam
A girl practices her newly acquired pottery making skills at Ho Chi Minh City-based Overland Club.

In recent years, more young Vietnamese have learned culinary skills and crafted ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) handmade items both to have fun and give them to their loved ones, while helping cherish the crafts and domestic values at the same time.

Unlike other boisterous pastimes typical among youths, in recent times an increasing number of young Vietnamese people have taken to handmade crafts and cooking for a change.

During a paper flowering class at the Ho Chi Minh City Women Culture Center in District 3, young learners are engrossed in cutting colored sheets of paper and trimming them into flowers of various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Their items are typically more creative and youthful than those made by older learners.

Youngsters, including those from other provinces, are taking part in a clay flower course also held at the center.

Their products, including flowers and decorative items, not only serve as outlets for their inventiveness and artistic passion, but also give them potential business opportunities.

Several youths from other provinces plan to open their own shops in their hometowns, where these items will likely draw clients for their novelty and gorgeous looks.

Some classes offering brief courses in crafting pottery items, particularly Japanese pottery, can also be found in Ho Chi Minh City.

A class called Over Land in an alley on Huynh Khuong Ninh Street in District 1 is typically packed with students on weekends.

The learners, who come from different walks of life and age brackets, intently listen to instructions and practice with all the materials and tools available.

After a few hours, all their hard work pays off and they are delighted at the simple jars and vases they created themselves.

Toa Tau (Railroad Car) Hub, a creativity learning center located at 632 Dien Bien Phu Street in Binh Thanh District, offers a wide range of art classes, including “origami” (traditional Japanese paper folding art), painting, music appreciation, and clay kneading.

Art types which recently made their debut in Vietnam, such as sketchnote storytelling – or telling a story with sketches – have appealed hugely to young people.

The most popular skills classes remain cookery classes, which now also draw a number of males.

In classes at Mon Ngon Vietnam (Vietnamese Delicacy) School in District 1, young men and women have gradually grown from awkward to seasoned cooks.

Those who cannot afford classes can easily find a slew of local websites which offer detailed instructions on how to embroider, knit and make clothes, and prepare dishes and cakes.

The websites also share handy miscellaneous tips, including ones on how to put overcooked dishes right. 

Several sites have also shared tips on how to make masks for Halloween – a yearly celebration which is observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day.

Source of joy, nurturer of womanly virtues, traditional crafts

The DIY items, though small and seemingly insignificant, are an immense source of joy and satisfaction for both their creators and recipients.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thuy, 25, from Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, some 125km from Ho Chi Minh City, knit a coat for her future mother-in-law in one month.

Her fiancée, an electrical engineer, also gave her a sparkling miniature house, which he had meticulously built with ice cream sticks and even installed electrical wires.

Nguyen Xuan Duong, 26, of the city’s Nha Be District, shared that he finds pottery crafting an effective, intriguing means of self-expression.

He went to a local pottery class and crafted a pen holder as a custom-made Christmas gift for his special friend.

Vo Thi Minh Hue, a psychologist, observed that in today’s fast-paced world, the practice of such traditional crafts, which is considered a powerful enhancer of womanly virtues, is waning.

The DIY trend among local youths has helped revive these apparently forgotten values, she stressed.

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