Crafts on Peel brings together contemporary and traditional Hong Kong artisans
Crafts on Peel invites skilled craftsmen to share their skills with a younger generation as they collaborate on traditional techniques such as porcelain painting, birdcage making, papier-maché and copperware
Traditional crafts play a vital role in societies, providing a creative expression of a culture and community. But in an age of ubiquitous technology and rampant globalisation, people turn to cheap, mass-produced goods, and skills are lost as craftspeople struggle to survive.
Hong Kong is no exception. But a new non-profit space, Crafts on Peel – that’s Peel Street, in Central – hopes to turn the tide by promoting the appreciation and understanding of traditional craft and its importance in society’s cultural heritage and identity.
Opening this month, the initiative fosters collaborations between traditional craftsmen and contemporary artisans through exhibitions and workshops.
“We want to breathe new life into traditional craft, so the values of traditional craftsmanship can be integrated into our times,” says Craft on Peel’s founder, Yama Chan.
The venue will also host a year-round artisan-in-residence programme to generate exchange and dialogue between craftspeople across generations and regions. Through this knowledge exchange, as well as public engagement, research and archiving, it hopes to play a role in the preservation and documentation of traditional crafts and heritage.
In its first exhibition, “Crafts Interwoven: Past and Present”, which runs from January 19 to March 29, six contemporary artisans will collaborate with local craftsmen to reinterpret traditional crafts and techniques in a series of handmade artefacts.
Over the past year, Jinno Neko, Dylan Kwok, Lawrence Ting, Anthony So, Singchin Lo and Joey Leung have worked with Cheung Foon on bamboo framework crafting and papier-mâché; Chan Lok-choi on birdcage crafting; the Luk brothers Shu-choi and Keung-choi on copperware; and Joseph Tso Chi-chung on Cantonese porcelain painting. Works by porcelain painter Lam Duen Shan Ming and fashion designer Polly Ho will also be exhibited.
“The most rewarding moment in the process of developing ‘Crafts Interwoven’ was to witness the joy of the contemporary artisans when they were given the opportunity to apprentice under traditional craftsmen, which allowed them to be equipped with a specialised skill set that they can further use in their work,” says Penelope Luk, creative director of Crafts on Peel.
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