Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chinese Thread Book Workshop

Next month I will be conducting a workshop about the Chinese Thread Book, also called Zhen Xian Bao. The workshop will be at The Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio and there is still time to register if you want to join me. August 13 and 14.

The Chinese Thread book is part of a rather obscure Chinese folk art tradition that was practiced in some rural areas of China, and may still be found if you look carefully. Women used these books primarily to keep their sewing supplies (threads, needles, patterns, swatches, etc), and any other bits of paper, photographs, etc that needed saving. My work on these is based on the information collected by Ruth Smith, who introduced the world to this dying craft after she did primary research on these folded books while visiting China. Smith identified a number of variations on the thread book structure and with quite a lot of variation in the number of boxes. This is one that I made, shown here in a video to give you an idea of how it works.

I have made a number of these in different sizes and using different structures. In the workshop, we'll be making one similar to the one in the video and we will look at traditional decorations and spend some time adorning our thread books appropriately.

For the workshop we will have a variety of Chinese fabrics and interesting papers to use. I have also seen photos of authentic Zhen Xian Bao that use things like old coins as decoration, so I also have a batch of old Chinese coins for the workshop participants to use if an authentic look is desired. Workshop registration can be done online at The Morgan Conservatory.


Anne Rita Taylor said...

Last year a couple of book-making friends and I approached making this Chinese Thread Book - lots of trial and error - a fun book to finally finish! Thanks for the gentle reminder. Wish I lived closer to where you are teaching. http://anneritataylor.blogspot.com

Helmi said...

Wow, I love this!!!

MyHandboundBooks said...

Thanks Anne and Helmi!

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