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Make hundreds of dollars from fallen leaves

HANOI  Thanks to the technique of embroidery on leaves, artist Quan Thi Cuc has created paintings on bodhi leaf bones, selling for up to 5 million VND (200$)per product.

Three years ago, Ms. Cuc, 35 years old, from Hoang Mai district, by chance found out how to embroider on leaves without tearing after being instructed by a practitioner. Up to now, in Vietnam, no one has studied this method, forcing her to tinker and experiment.

As a national artist with hand embroidery, Ms. Cuc admits that it is difficult to practice on the delicate leaf. I don’t remember how many products were damaged, but the number of torn leaves is estimated to be in kilograms because just one strong hand force will destroy the whole product.

After three months of finding out the technique and two more months of persistent practice, she gradually adjusted the force in her hand, the embroidery of the motifs on the leaves was more convenient, the number of damaged products gradually decreased.

Make hundreds of dollars from fallen leaves
Ms. Cuc self-study, tinkering to find out the technique of embroidery on dried Bodhi leaves. Photo: Character provided

According to Ms. Cuc, the Bodhi leaf chosen for the painting must have a beautiful shape, balance on both sides, and elongate beard. From fresh leaves, workers must wash them, soak them in lime water for 60 days, then brush them clean, keep their veins, and dry them in the sun.

The stages of embroidery on Bodhi leaves are basically the same as embroidery on other materials, from finding ideas, sketching them on paper, editing the motifs to your liking, drawing patterns on the leaves and starting to embroider. “But embroidering on fabric is difficult, then the bodhi leaf bone is a hundred times difficult. Not only is it gentle and skillful to embroider without tearing, the worker also has to be diligent, hardworking, and meticulous, combined thinking. high to create a complete product,” said Ms. Cuc.

At first, the female artist took a month to perfect a product due to the preliminary processing of leaves. But later, she bought pre-processed leaf bones at Sinh Duoc Cooperative, the time being reduced to a few days to a few weeks, depending on the difficulty of the painting.

An embroidery work on leaves done by Ms. Cuc. Photo: Character provided

Ms. Cuc created more than 100 embroidery patterns on leaves, from embroidery pictures with calligraphy, flowers, mascots, landscapes, cultural symbols, national flags… But the most difficult and labor-intensive is the statue embroidery. Buddha, tiger, peacock, phoenix by many intricate details, the finished embroidered image must be soulful and lifelike.

The amazing embroidery works introduced by the female artist on social networks made many people admire and admire, then contact to order as display items or as gifts for friends and relatives on special occasions.

On average, every month, Ms. Cuc receives a few dozen orders, customers have to book in advance, but many times can’t do it because of the large number of requests. The price of a product ranges from 400,000 VND to 5 million VND, depending on the sophistication, meticulousness and finishing time.

“Bodhi leaves not only have a beautiful shape but also contain great meaning, so I want them to be revived in a new look. I myself am very happy that the product is well received by many people”, Ms. Cuc confided.

Hand embroidery artist Quan Thi Cuc performs embroidery techniques on bodhi leaves. Photo: Character provided

In addition to maintaining the traditional hand-embroidery profession, innovating on many different types of embroidery materials to keep and develop the profession, Ms. Cuc also opened online hand-embroidery classes with the participation of nearly 3,000 students at home and abroad. .

With her constant efforts in developing hand embroidery techniques, Ms. Quan Thi Cuc received the title of Golden Hand Artisan in 2019 and National Artisan in 2022 for traditional hand embroidery.

In the coming time, the youngest female artisan in the traditional hand embroidery industry will continue to research to create new and unique products with high aesthetics and bold artistic and cultural characteristics.

“I hope to be able to preserve the value of the national cultural heritage, multiply the embroidery craft to the younger generations so that they can live forever with time,” said Ms. Cuc.

Some of Cuc’s hand-embroidered works on Bodhi leaves.

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