The paper making tradition
Paper making originated in China in the Han dynasty, making it one of the five great Chinese inventions which later spread around the world.
Originally, paper was made from simple rags and plant fibres, combined together to make rudimentary sheets of thick paper. This developed into an art form by the addition of flower petals and coloured pigments, resulting in beautiful creations.
Learning the culture
First, the homestay tutors enjoyed a short introductory talk on the history and culture of paper making, particularly in the Hangzhou area.
This was a great opportunity to understand the culture in more depth, as well as to learn some key words and phrases in Chinese relating to the activity.
“The Chinese teacher is very friendly, she taught me to make it by hand patiently, and also explained the art of papermaking to me. Thanks for her kindness, I love China!”Virginie, Canada
Making the paper
There are several steps to the paper making process. First, the paper pulp is produced by mixing together recycled paper, tissue and plant fibres along with water. This is then pressed into a mould with a small hammer.
Decorating the paper
Next, the decorating process can begin! The homestay tutors selected flower petals and leaves to place onto the paper pulp, forming beautiful patterns and scenic pictures.
The mould is then pressed together to squeeze out the excess water and bind the flowers on.
“The canvas made of flowers is so wonderful, I have never heard of such a thing in my own country!”Maria, Italy
Celebrating their creations!
Everyone produced some incredible artwork, and they all enjoyed a celebratory group photo at the end!
“I have met many new friends here again. It is a pleasant experience to share hand-made works with each other and to understand each other’s country!”Lynn, Germany