Archives for posts with tag: handmade


European Size 38, China

The first record of slipper in China were found in the Nan Song Dynasty 1200 AD, not invention but in a travel log for a visit to India, a pair of shoes with open heel must be a novelty to the ambassador. It is recorded in detail that there are 2 types; one type is probably the ancestor of flip flop (the paduka), it has a leather sole and a tiny bone in the middle,  one would wear it with the tiny bone in between the toes.  The second type has a red leather strap that run around the sole of the slipper (who anyone know what is this other type that the traveller has seen/).



L130xW50mm, China

Ever wonder how a wooden comb is made?

In the days when hair washing is not a daily event, the combs acted as a tool for cleaning of the hair.  Dust, dandruff, lices and any knots and tangles are all sorted.

washi coster

W150xL150mm, Japan

A simple coaster made of handmade Japanese paper, washi.  The paper is treated with water resistant coating to make the coaster more durable.  It is part of the collection from the Otake Japanese Paper Workshop in Hiroshima, the workshop is set up to promote and to continue the art of Japanese handmade paper.


DIA165mm, Hong Kong

A simple necklace with a handmade millefiori bead.  The making of a millefiori bead is though not as simple …


L250xW70mm, China

This is a pair of embroidery shoes of the Miao tribe (for more about Miao tribe shoes, see our earlier post, Embroidery Shoes).  Today I would like to concentrate on the cloth sole of the shoes which is entirely handmade.  Before rubber and leather sole became popular in China, most of the soles are made with cloth, it is a common household practice, even mother remembers making shoes for herself in her childhood.  Here is mom’s instruction:

  1. Save up old clothes and off cuts for a year, so materials are ready for making new shoes for Chinese new year
  2. Cook up some glue with water and rice flour (the Chinese version of wall paper paste)
  3. On a flat board, applied glue to the edge of the board, then stretch the a large piece of cotton cloth, apply a layer of glue over it.  On the second layer place smaller pieces of cloth, avoid any overlapping or gaps, apply a layer.  On the top place a large piece of cotton, avoid creases, applied glue over it.  Let dry for a night
  4. Use a newspaper to trace out the sole of the old pair of shoe, enlarge to suit.  Prepare an addition one for a size larger.
  5. Cut out from the dried cloth pile 6 pieces from the larger template (large filler – LF), 7 from the smaller (small filler – SF) one and 2 smaller pieces for the heel (H).  Put the pieces of the same size together, clamp them and give it a good trim so that they are the same size and shape.  Reverse the template and cut out the soles for the other shoe.
  6. Take a piece from the large filler and mount a piece of cotton, wrapped the edges over to the top.  This will become the bottom layer of the sole (BS), the piece that touches on the ground.  Take the other 6 larger fillers and stick on a cotton piping around it.
  7. Then places the fillers in the order; BS-LF-SF-LF-H-SF-LF-SF-LF-SF-LF-H-SF-LF-SF-SF-SF.  Stitch temporarily to hold them together, clamp it well and sew the edge with hemp string (you will need an awl for this).  Then make uniform and small stitiches (as seen in the photo) throughout the whole of the sole.
  8. The completed sole is then brushed with warm water and covered with a blanket overnight.
  9. The next morning, the sole is compressed with a mallet and air dried.
  10. Now the sole is complete, all you need to do is the upper shoes and of course the embroidery …

W500xL600mm, China

Though paper is one of the 4 great invention of China, handmade paper is a dying art.  To earn a living from making paper is hard work; there are all together 72 steps!  This is only a rough idea what is has been done to make the paper.

First, in late spring young bamboo are collected from the forest, these 2 m long bamboo are then cut into 2 cm wide stripes.  These stripes are soaked in lime water for 2 to 3 months.  At the point, the bamboo would have turned yellowish, they are then rinsed and cleaned with water and the knots and the outer skin will be removed.  These stripes are then put in a 5 m long x 1 m wide wooden trough for stomping (just as grape stomping for wine).  Now we finally have the paste for paper making; the paste is put into a 2 m long by 1 m tall wooden trough and mixed with a glue solution.  A deckle with fine silk sieve mounted on a wooden frame is lowered into the paste and then taken out, after the water is drained away a thin layer of paste is left.  The paste sheet is flipped out on wooden board, silk sieve removed and we have a wet piece of paper.  These wet paper is piled up and water squeeze out under the wooden press.  Lastly, the paper are separated and posted on the drying room one by one.  These workshops are usually run by 10 people;  2 for the stripping of bamboo, 2 for stomping, 3 for sieving, 2 for drying and one for all the other bits and pieces.

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