Silk and paper flower craft-making

Country: Vietnam

The silk flower craft-making was developed in Hanoi and reflects that city’s elegant culture. The aim is to match the real flowers, so the artisans must study well the natural forms in order to fully impress.

The first stage is to cut petals, leaves, then use colours on the petals and apply the same thing on the leaves. Many types of flowers require large stamens that are small and soft. The craftsperson begins making the stamen, then adds the petals. Flower stalks are made from steel strings covered with paper or silk on the outside, and also coloured as in nature. The silk flowers have elegant and sophisticated beauty. The most famous artisan is Ms. Mai Hanh, who excels at painting lotuses and orchids.

Paper flower making is more difficult. Vietnamese people formerly offered paper flowers on the ancestor-worshipping table during festivals. The paper flowers are simple, with vibrant colours, so that they are barely competed with the real and silk flowers. Nowadays, only Thanh Tien Village, Thua Thien Hue, can maintain the craft. To make a paper flower, one needs to cut the petals from a stack of coloured papers. Each layer usually has five petals attached together. The stamen is made from silver paper or a tiny glass rod. The stalk is made from bamboo.

Thanh Tien villagers have been creative in paper folding to make a lotus flower. When they paint the petals red, the colour on edge is brighter and the rest is a gradient. The two ends are then glued together to make the lotus petals look more realistic. The artisan who thought of this technique is Mr. Than Van Huy (Thanh Tien Village).