Taking advantage of discarded coconut leaves, the workers in Hoi An (Quang Nam) have “turned” into paintings to sell to tourists, many of which cost tens of millions of dong.
For many years now, tourists coming to Hoi An (Quang Nam) are very excited to see and buy paintings and art products made from the sheath of the nipa palm tree. The most special feature of this paper is “transparent”, under the light or sunlight, the patterns on the product are more clearly revealed and very eye-catching.
Mr. Truong Tan Tho (44 years old) owner of this coconut paper factory said that after many years of wandering and making a living in Ho Chi Minh City, in 2016, he returned to his hometown to establish a career in painting and raising ideas. The idea of creating paintings on completely new materials, creating a product with unique characteristics of Hoi An.
During a visit to the Bay Mau coconut forest in Cam Thanh commune (Hoi An), he and two associates suddenly came up with an initiative to take advantage of this local available natural material to make paper and create new products. unique picture.”Vietnamese paper garden” is the name they choose to give their “children”.
Currently, the only coconut paper and painting factory in Hoi An has 6 regular employees. The coconut leaf sheath after collection will be chopped, cleaned of the resin and latex and then cooked at high temperature.
From that cooked coconut leaf sheath, the mill will be used many times to grind it into a fine powder and incubate for a short time to whiten.
After meeting the requirements, the powder will be mixed with water, the worker will use a silk frame to catch and spread this powder on top so that the raw paper will be obtained.Depending on the shape and purpose of the painter, sprinkle the powder in different shapes.
Next, the craftsman will skillfully use the pressure of water to make the pulp even and more beautiful.
When the pulp is finished in the mold, it is allowed to dry in the sun for 1-2 days to obtain coconut paper products.
The most important stage is “drawing” pictures on coconut paper.The worker will use 1 or 2 hoses to spray on the mesh frame that has been evenly brushed with a layer of pureed coconut powder and has the pattern printed on the decal placed above.When you feel the outline just enough on the frame, remove the decal, the patterns will gradually appear.
To get a beautiful picture, the maker has to turn the water pump with different strength and light to spray on the decal sheet and around the border, from which the new “drawing” is imprinted on the picture.
The stages of pouring powder on the frame, applying decals and spraying water are meticulously performed by skilled workers.All are handmade and do not use any chemicals to keep the color intact, creating the “unique” characteristic of coconut paper.
The most difficult in these stages is how to use water pressure.Water pressure is very important, because too strong a spray will lose the image, but if it is too weak, the texture will not appear on the frame.
In the process of painting, if any part is faulty or unsightly, the craftsman uses his hands to remove that part and then uses pressure to correct it from the beginning.For each such picture, the time from cooking coconut branches to completion takes about 1 week.
With 6 years of experience in making coconut paper paintings, Mr. Quynh Nam (SN 1978) said that, depending on the talent and ingenuity of each person, they will create different artistic products.It is possible to draw the same image, a pattern, but still have a separate soul.
Currently, each picture made from a sheath of coconut leaves has an average price of 4 – 10 million VND.In addition to serving tourists to buy souvenirs, Viet Paper Garden is now receiving more and more orders from hotels, restaurants or families, with the content mainly revolving around the famous places of Hoi An. , lotus flower, Buddha, crane, Dong Son bronze drum,… In, many customers ordered large-format paintings with complex motifs, so the value was up to tens of millions of dong.
In addition to paintings, other handicraft products such as lanterns, raw paper made from coconut leaves are also meaningful souvenirs for tourists when visiting Hoi An.
“Hoi An is a tourist city that is building an eco-city brand. That is also the criterion that I aim for in each of my products. I will continue to research more new and unique products. And those artistic products must definitely be made from Hoi An branded paper, “said Mr. Tho.