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Foundations of creativity on straw

Updated: 2023-12-16 12:06 ( China Daily )
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Xu has delivered many sorghum straw artworks over the years, such as an ancient city gate tower.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"They all show great interest, and some students, after a semester of courses, can already construct simple buildings with a proper structure through the straw techniques," Xu Jian says.

Song Ruofei from a primary school in Yongqing county has been fascinated by the art since Xu Jian gave a class in April. She used the straws and fashioned a Luban lock, an educational toy first created by well-known Chinese carpenter Lu Ban 2,000 years ago. "I can't believe I could pull it off, making such a delicate work," she recalls.

She says she will spend more spare time practicing the art in the future.

Xu Jian has also created short videos online to demonstrate the sorghum straw techniques. He and his sister have established an intangible cultural heritage workshop in their hometown, where they organize training sessions annually for rural women to increase income.

Through nearly two decades of engagement in the art, Xu Jian has been invited to many national and provincial exhibitions to showcase his work.

"The primary mission of an inheritor of intangible cultural heritage is to preserve, but innovation is also crucial," Xu Jian says.

He plans to incorporate more modern elements into the sorghum straw art, such as creating works depicting Shenzhou spacecraft and China's aircraft carriers.

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