Dao ethnic artisan keeps brocade embroidery craft alive

(VOVWORLD) - A brocade embroidery class has just been opened for Dao ethnic women in Son Duong commune, Ha Long city, in Quang Ninh province. The class is taught by Truong Thi Dong, a Dao Thanh Y artisan with a wish to keep the Dao’s brocade embroidery craft alive.

Dao ethnic artisan keeps brocade embroidery craft alive  - ảnh 1Truong Thi Dong, a Dao Thanh Y artisan, is dedicated to keeping the Dao’s brocade embroidery craft alive (Photo: VOV) 

The brocade class meets every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the cultural house in Dong Be hamlet, Son Duong commune. 61-year-old Truong Thi Dong traverses a 20-kilometer winding road to get to the class.

There is no white board or chalk board. The learning materials are colorful fabrics and threads provided by Dong. At the beginning of the lesson, Ms. Dong teaches the students how to choose the right fabric and thread colors, how to use the embroidery tools, and the basic techniques used in making traditional embroidery patterns. Ahead of the lesson, Dong prepares samples on white cloth for the students to follow. Most of the students are new to brocade embroidery, but thanks to Dong’s patient instruction, they can already make some simple embroidery items.

18-year-old Trieu Thi Thuy, said: “I’ve attended the class since October. I found it difficult at first, but after 2 weeks I could make basic patterns like birds and leaves. I learned the basics and practiced them at the same time. After attending this class, I hope I can make a traditional Dao Thanh Phan blouse for my mum and other relatives. This class helps to preserve and pass down the traditional brocade embroidery craft to later generations.”

Dong’s grandmother and mother have a deep knowledge of the customs and traditions of the Dao. Her sister Truong Thi Quy is well-known locally for her singing and embroidery. Dong learned brocade embroidery techniques from her sister. To do embroidery, one must be patient and meticulous. Dao costumes show one’s creativity, aesthetic sense, and meticulousness. Dong’s skillful hands create embroidery items that are like works of art depicting nature and people.

Dao ethnic artisan keeps brocade embroidery craft alive  - ảnh 2The brocade embroidery class taught by artisan Truong Thi Dong (Photo: VOV) 

With a great passion for embroidery, over the past 10 years Ms. Dong has travelled from hamlet to hamlet to teach people to embroider. Many of them then teach embroidery techniques to others. Ms. Dong said: “In 2013, I opened an embroidery class in my home. Then the Department of Culture opened training classes and asked me to take them over to revive Dao culture. I’m happy that after attending my embroidery class many people can now make their own traditional costumes.”

Many learners are excited to join the class. Ms. Thu is one of them. Thu said: “The teacher is enthusiastic about teaching us embroidery. While we learn to embroider, we also share our experiences and talk about farming and family life.  We hope that many people will come and buy our Dao brocade embroidery products.”

Dong says she teaches the embroidery classes to preserve and promote Dao culture while improving the lives of local people.