London Craft Week celebrates 'Chinese Design: Harmony in Diversity'
Published: May 17, 2024 12:52 AM
The opening ceremony of

The opening ceremony of "Chinese Design: Harmony in Diversity“ on May 13 in London, the UK. Photo: Sun Wei/GT

The bustling streets of London were adorned with a vibrant cultural tapestry this week as the 10th London Craft Week commenced with a grand celebration of "Chinese Design: Harmony in Diversity." This annual festival is revered for the artisanal prowess and craftsmanship on display.

Themed around the rich tapestry of Chinese design, this year's London Craft Week promises an enchanting fusion of tradition and innovation, echoing the harmonious spirit of diversity. Organized by the Art and Design Press in China, in collaboration with the London Craft Week Organizing Committee and the Cultural Section of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, the event has garnered international acclaim for its artisanal finesse.

The opening ceremony saw a historic moment as Guy Salter, the chairman and founder of London Craft Week, read from a heartfelt letter from King Charles. In his missive, King Charles reminisced fondly about inaugurating the event with his wife in 2015, lauding its transformative journey over the past decade. He praised London Craft Week for its role in illuminating diverse talent from across the globe and for providing a beacon of unity, fostering connections amidst a mosaic of cultures.

Central to this year's festivities is the "Chinese Design: Harmony in Diversity" exhibition, an opulent tableau of China's cultural heritage showcased through three distinct areas: clothing, pottery, and lacquerware. Each section weaves tales of tradition and modernity.

Salter told the Global Times that his favorite item in the exhibition is a bamboo weaving titled "Stone as the Root of Clouds" by artist He Yuefeng. "This incredible piece shows that traditional craftsmanship can be used to create a contemporary work of art, which is very impactful," Salter said, adding that the piece also exemplifies the transformative power of heritage techniques, finding new life in the realm of contemporary art.

In the realm of fashion, "The Flower of Ethnic Costumes" blooms with resplendent hues, showcasing the intricate attire of China's Han, Miao, and Yi ethnic groups. Renowned designers such as Axin, Lei Wenwen, and the avant-garde label Desi Jianqu cast their spell, with Desi Jianqu igniting the stage with a captivating fashion flash mob, inspired by the nation's intangible cultural legacy of Xiang Yun Sha.

Anthony Bednall, head of the Fashion Department at Kingston University, shared profound insights into the symbiotic relationship between tradition and sustainable fashion. His collaboration with Chinese artisans underscores the imperative of preserving ancestral crafts within the modern narrative of fashion, a sentiment echoed by his partner, the esteemed Chinese designer Guape.

In the realm of pottery, "The Flower of Pottery Art" focuses on exquisite Longquan celadon and Jizhou kiln porcelain. Contrasting the spontaneity of folk kilns with the finesse of official kilns, this segment pays homage to China's rich ceramic legacy.

Meanwhile, "The Flower of Lacquerware" casts a spellbinding aura, as artisans like Huo Yijin weave tales of tradition and innovation. Huo Yijin's masterpiece, "La(core)quer," seamlessly melds ancient lacquer techniques with contemporary elements, breathing new life into this time-honored craft.

Beyond the aesthetic allure, London Craft Week has reaffirmed its commitment to social progress through initiatives like the "Mother's Needlework" project. Spearheaded by the China Ping An Group and Art and Design Magazine, this endeavor empowers local women by transforming recycled clothing into exquisite handicrafts, fostering economic resilience while safeguarding cultural heritage.

Through its celebration of "Chinese Design: Harmony in Diversity," London Craft Week not only honors the legacy of craftsmanship but also heralds a future where cultural exchange and sustainable development intertwine, transcending borders and nurturing a world of unity and diversity.

The exhibition will be open until May 19 at the Royal Mint in London.

Global Times