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The woman who folds paper creates ‘all kinds of things’ in Saigon

The Covid-19 outbreak is being fought by the Vietnamese football squad, doctors, and nurses. Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Thuong folds them all out of paper with wavy veins using the Kami technique.

Ms. Thuong, 39, from Binh Thanh district, first learned about Kami four years ago when a friend gave her a paper doll with an adorable shape that was folded using strange-looking wavy paper. She went online to learn more, but there was little information available about this art form. Although numerous shops in Vietnam offer paper dolls, no one has pursued the trade professionally as of early 2017. The female office worker decided to take a chance and quit her job to become a pioneer in Vietnam for this handcrafted art form.

The woman who folds paper creates ‘all kinds of things’ in Saigon

Thu Thuong with some of her paper folding works.

Thuong started looking to buy paper to try, but the kind of paper making dolls in the country is not available, so it has to be imported from Japan and Taiwan. However, deciding how much paper to import is always a headache. “If you import too much, it is tough to preserve. Paper that is left for a long time is easy to peel, blister, and cannot be shaped. But if you import less, you are afraid of being passive about the paper source”, she said about the difficulties of the period. Head.

Having obtained the paper, Thuong began to experiment with folding according to the few models available on the internet at that time. No one to guide, she tinkered with herself for a whole month, then rushed and broke. After many nights of self-study and practice, Thuong created his own process. Step one is to choose a model; she often studies every detail of the specimen very carefully and always imagines in her mind how that detail should be folded. The second step is to select the paper and choose the color. Step 3 is to roll, fold, push the paper, glue the paper, and then decorate.

Although the stage is small, it takes 3-4 hours to complete the simplest work, while products that require high technology and details take 2-3 days.

“This white Vespa took me 3 days to complete. Because it is quite a feat, I still keep that car at home as a souvenir,” Thuong shared about his latest passionate work.

The Vespa took 3 days for Ms. Thuong.

In December 2018, the Vietnamese football team played against the Malaysian team at the AFF Cup, and Ms. Thuong lined up 4 players with coach Park Hang-Seo to introduce them to the community of craft lovers. Unexpectedly, her product attracted an airline. They contacted her to order the creation of all 24 players on the team. During 24 hours, this woman, with the help of her husband, stayed up all night to complete the order, in time to bring it to Malaysia to give to the players, cheering the spirit of competition. “It’s the best memory of my career,” she shared.

Since starting to work, almost every night Thuong has wondered about the models that will be implemented the next day. If she had a new idea, she would get up and work until morning.

The price of Kami paper folding toys ranges from 250,000 VND to millions of VND per product, depending on the size, difficulty, and difficulty. It can be a picture of a chicken, a motorbike, a bicycle, Mr. Than Tai, football players, doctors and nurses fighting the Covid-19 epidemic… and more than 300 other models.

Thuong introduced the model of coach Park Hang-Seo and some players of the Vietnamese team in the AFF Cup 2018 to the community of craft lovers.

Ms. Thuong has also sold hundreds of products to the market, which customers receive because of its uniqueness and cuteness. The most popular model right now is folding a specific human portrait. The customer sent the picture, and she started to do it. “For people, I pay attention to every detail of their eyes, hair, and prominent features. From there, it is possible to fold portraits that describe their appearance.”

The advantage of the Kami paper folding toy is that it is colorfast, without harmful chemicals. However, made from paper, it avoids water, so the product is often used for display and as a gift on special occasions.

In Vietnam, currently, only Ms. Thuong professionally pursues Kami art paper folding. The Saigon woman plans that when the Covid-19 epidemic is repelled, she will promote this type more with training workshops to guide students all over the country. She also hopes that shortly, Vietnamese paper dolls will be exported to foreign countries. Follow vnexpress/Photo: Character provided

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