China stories

Dawn Beasley ✿ On a slow boat to Jingdezhen - Dawn Beasley has just been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to take up a ceramics residency studio in Jingdezhen, following a path worn by many successful foreign artists.
The red candle in China’s “craft of love” - Shaoheng Feng nominates the red candle as a key to the "craft of love" in Chinese culture.
Wu Wei: “Nothing doing” is the future of Chinese papercutting - At a time of lockdown, Pamela See finds that Chinese papercutting can flourish by adopting the Taoist ideal of wu wei, doing nothing, in response to the apparent threat of new technologies.
TikTok: A new platform for promoting crafts in China - Xue Xia explores beyond the Great Internet Firewall of China to find surprising uses of TikTok for promoting crafts.
Ancient again in China: Chengdu heritage festival draws huge crowds - The 7th Chengdu international intangible cultural heritage festival attracted a total of 5.7 million people, with an online population of 190 million people.
A world in cork: How China refined the Xmas card - The cork picture is a national intangible cultural heritage of Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China. Its origins reflect an interesting translation of Western culture into the Chinese aesthetic.
Ma Luocheng ✿ The craft of “impeachment” - China specialises in miniature carving. This relates to the long tradition of seals, which marked the intricate characters of the author. Here's a glimpse of this tradition today expressed with peach stones.
Liziqi ✿ China’s craft princess - "Nowadays time goes by so quickly that we yearn for Li Ziqi’s lifestyle." The story of Liziqi tells us much about the wave of interest in China's traditional culture today.
Weaving Pang Jai: In search of old Hong Kong - Eloise Rapp goes in search of a textile that embodies the ramshackle identity of old Hong Kong.
Luo Wanxing ✿ A life’s hard labour for sweet reward - Our China correspondent, Xue XIA, offers a recent homage to the end of a once-thriving trade in China - brown sugar making.
Al Sadu ✿ A craft tradition goes solar - Is this a future for craft traditions? Interwoven is a Chinese proposition to design a solar system that reflects the design traditions of the Al Sadu tribal rug.
Rong Design Library ✿ Deconstructing craft for design - The Rong Design library "deconstructs" crafts for contemporary designers. It shows respect for traditional Chinese crafts, but what about the artisans who have cared for this knowledge?
Beijing Shadow Show Troupe combats “electric shadows” - You might expect that puppetry has been superceded by the electronic screen, which is more spectacular and efficient in delivery of stories. But the human involvement of puppets can be enduring appeal.
Living with dragons - While the mythical creature of the dragon is synonymous with China, its presence can be found across the Indo-Pacific. In this online exhibition, we feature artists both inside and outside China who are inspired by the dragon.
Tangchang cloth shoes in Sichuan - Testimony to the growing value of crafts in contemporary China can be found in a recent article on WeChat. It tells of the various visits by General Secretary Xi Jingping to craft enterprises.
China’s craft revival: The cultural shift - Drawing on her recent research, Yin Huang reflects on the increased cultural focus on crafts in China and the opportunities it opens for foreign organisations.
He stood up! ✿ Winds of change at the Ancient Now symposium - The Ancient Now symposium heralded not only new creative pathways to China, but also a changing world view inspired by the dragons among us.
Ancient Now - Artists in the Ancient Now online exhibition were invited to send an image of their work along with a reference from the deep past. Their thoughtful works provide a conduit between the ancient and contemporary worlds. 
Quarterly essay ✿ “Drifters” in Jingdezhen: Past meets present in the porcelain capital - Luise Guest listens to ceramic artists who draw on the unique energies of Jingdezhen, including Geng Xue, Liu Jianhua, Juz Kitson and Merran Esson.
Editorial - We begin the final third part of our journey across the Indo-Pacific by focusing on its largest nation. During the British empire, Chinese culture was subject to a mixture of fascination and disdain. Even today, the symbol of the dragon is used to represent the threat posed by its growing power. Craft offers an alternative way of connecting world cultures. It offers room for mutual appreciation of skill and beauty. In the twentieth century, China sought to uplift its population from poverty through industrialisation, with miraculous success. As this issue shows, in the twenty-first century, China is now turning towards its traditional cultures in order to recover its own identity. Crafts play a key role in this and as a […]
The re-awakening of lacquer in China today 🇨🇳 - Liu Huan reflects personally on the enduring value of lacquer in Chinese culture and project to revive its spirit for modern consumers.
唤醒中国物感——大漆的品牌化发展 - A report from the Chinese lacquer alliance
The ladybird garden of Chen Ping - Jan Hogan writes about a Tasmanian printmaker of Chinese origin whose work expresses a universal idiom of flowers.
Dragon reborn: The making of Bendigo’s Dai Gum Loong - Leigh McKinnon writes about the revival of skills from Hong Kong involved in the new Bendigo dragon
Remembering people and places past/passed: Ceramics by Ah Xian, Ai Weiwei, Sin-ying Ho and Liu Jianhua - For Alex Burchmore, the ceramic art by Ah Xian, Ai Weiwei, Sin-ying Ho and Liu Jianhua represents important memory work in contemporary China.
Very peaceful for the ancestors: Chinese memories in the Lambing Flats Folk Museum - Sharon Peoples is struck by the quiet of Chinese students at the Lamming Flats Museum.
Making the cut: The effects of the introduction of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) on the Chinese papercutting 2006-2018 - In reflecting on the recent history of papercutting in China, Pamela See identifies the threat to its creative energy posed by CNC cutting.
Are you hungry? Jewellery learnings from Shanghai - Vicki Mason reflects on the remarkable support during her time with SanW Gallery and Yiwei Foundation in humid Shanghai.
Deep and shallow time meet in Jingdezhen - Pie Bolton takes Australian relics to Jingdezhen where they are transformed into works of "influence".
“Drifters” in Jingdezhen: Past meets present in the porcelain capital - Luise Guest listens to ceramic artists who draw on the unique energies of Jingdezhen, including Geng Xue, Liu Jianhua, Juz Kitson and Merran Esson.
Collective support for architectural heritage: The workcamp movement in Liang village - Liwen Zhu tells of summers spent in a built heritage preservation workcamp with volunteers from China and France.
Hand it to Scotland: Weaving firegrass with the Lisu and Yi communities of Yunnan Province - Janis Embleton brings Scottish weaving expertise to the province of Yunnan, where they new ways to use the distinctive fibre known as firegrass.
Interpreting China through an art jewellery practice - Gussie van der Merwe writes about foreign art jewellers like herself, Moniek Schrijer and Lavinia Rossetti are inspired by working in Shanghai.
Terracotta Warriors of Castlemaine - Dale Cox leads us into his alternative history of ancient Chinese artefacts found in an Australian paddock
Craft revival in China: How to make an old year new again - Anying Chen outlines a project to revive New Year prints, which are posted in Chinese homes to help begin the year on a positive note.
Robin Best ✿ A tea journey in silver and blue - Antonia Harrison writes about Robin Best's five vase garniture, made in Jingdezhen and telling the story of tea from China.
21st century chinoiserie: A journey from Zibo to Sydney - Yixuan Geng traces a journey through jewellery that connects her Chinese heritage to creative life in Sydney.
The delight of embroidery now – 2018 Chaozhou International Embroidery Art Biennale - Valerie Kirk is amazed by the quality of support for textile arts at the 2018 Chaozhou International Embroidery Art Biennale
Jeweller demonstrating skills at the bench Ancient Now – Creative dialogues with contemporary China: 22 June 2019 - Notice of upcoming forum on current and future creative pathways to China.
Can Suzhou Embroidery be contemporary art? - Anying Chen discusses the Suzhou embroidery produced by Yao Huifen for the China Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017, and considered whether it would be considered contemporary art from a Chinese perspective.
Anxi: A city of rattan and iron - During a visit to the southern Chinese city of Anxi, I learnt that China was much more than the world's factory. Behind the scenes is a rich culture of folk craft and ritual. It seems that China is saving the best for last. 
China welcomes the craft world - Under the guidance of the China Arts and Crafts Association, Qingdao has been developing a proposal to host a World Crafts Council International Cultural Centre.
Chinese craft whispers - We're very interested to see the way China is evolving as a craft culture. It's emergence as an industrial superpower was based on its position as a "factory to the world", providing cheap labour for products designed in the West. Having established this strength, the next challenge is to develop its own design capacity.
A Shanghai lei over: the plastic jewellery of Lauren Simeoni - Katharine Ahern follows the debut Lauren Simeoni's plastic leis into China.
One brooch, one ring: Beijing International Jewellery Art Exhibition by Jun Xie - With the global rise of China comes its growing cultural and artistic influence. The recent international exhibition of art jewellery in Beijing is testament to their ambition. This could be a positive force for the region's craft and design communities.
Objects for today from the shards of the past: Possibilities for ceramicists in China - There are many currencies in China, from Ming pottery shards to live crikets. Pamela Irving finds that Jingdezhen has revived her interest in wet clay, after she has produced extraordinary murals elsehwere in China.
The road to Kilombu crosses many borders - “Strong eye contact and contemplative side glances take the viewer into the minds of my subjects, who often appear stoic and patient.” Welcome to Kilombu, an island nation where oppressed cultures, particularly from the tropics and global South, can build an independent nation. The Embassy of Kilombu has organised an exhibition in Bangkok at Atta Gallery of silver amulets, carved with Pa’som hieroglyphics promising spiritual power to the bearer. According to the embassy statement: It is widely thought that the intrigue surrounding the Azomanu, Earth god of the mysterious Kilombola, first inspired the trend for exotic Kilombu jewelry; particularly the amulets and Mbunzuvuko (sango Pa’som language, “evolution”, “enlightenment”) bracelets. In fact, the interest in Kilombu motifs wasn’t widespread until recently, […]
Double Happiness - The founder of Pop Craft Studio, Pauline Tran, reveals the inspiration of Double Happiness, a way of realising the love for Peking Opera in handmade objects for a Melbourne suburb
Piecing together an ancient ceramic past, by Maggie Moy - Adelaide ceramic artist Maggie Moy visits the shard market in Jingdezhen and creates new works from fragments of an ancient past.
Happy Chinese New Year to everyone - ✿ We’re grateful to our subscribers for supporting this platform. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to join the circle and share the inspiration. ✿
Eclipsing tradition: China’s Chen Qiulin on art and rapid urbanisation - After Ai Weiwei's iconic performance of dropping the Han Dynasty Urn, it reassuring to see vases treated with such respect in this remarkable suite of photos.