BISS Puxi Visited the Jinze Art Center for Traditional Craft-Making Experiences
On April 21, organized by BISS Puxi, a group of its 108 students led by nine teachers arrived at Shanghai’s Jinze Art Center for a day of craft-making. This craft program aimed to establish an educational platform for international cultural experience and exchange, and to introduce traditional Chinese art and craft to International high schools students who presently study in China but grew up in multicultural regions such as Europe and East Asia. This, as well, was the first exploration of the “craft into the campus” project by the Jinze Art Center.
此次活動過程中，金澤工藝社專門開放了琉璃園、紡織館、植物染坊、衣意館、金澤窯、烘焙坊六個工坊和覺囊派唐卡、時輪金剛壇城、酥油花面塑三個藝術展覽，涉及有吹制琉璃、香囊荷包、蘇木紮染、中國結繩編、紫砂泥塑、紫荊花酥制作體驗以及彩沙金剛杵圖案、唐卡度量經佛造像繪制以及酥油花陶塑三個藝術展覽的藝術創作體驗。此外，金澤工藝社針對此次到來的外籍中學生，還特意在陽光餐廳準備了中國民間傳統面食——素包的制作體驗。令此次前來的國際中學生熱情接受。通過此次體驗活動，上海英國學校浦西校區的百余位師生開闊了眼界，見到了前所未見的藏傳佛教文化和藝術。特別是各個工坊的體驗讓這群來自各國的中學生切身地感受到手工技藝原來並非那麽簡單易做，在實踐中每一個工藝環節都充滿了智慧與技巧，而這些智慧與技巧則來自於愛，來自於每一位手工藝人真、善、美的心靈。如同被擦過的鏡子一般，照出來的都是新而鮮亮。法國啟蒙思想家盧梭(Jean Jacques Rousseau)曾在《愛彌兒》中說：“在人類所有的職業中，工藝是一門最古老最正直的手藝。工藝在人的成長中功用最大，在物品的制造中通過手將觸覺、視覺和腦力相協調，身心合一，使人得到健康成長。” 因此，當代手工藝的重要性便是防止人們邁向異化生活邊緣的有效方式，是緩沖科技與文化不一致的緊張狀態的最好手段。在為期一天的金澤工藝社體驗活動中，令英國學校孩子們印象深刻的便是再次回歸到平凡手藝的精髓。“未來是新的，過去也是新的。原先習慣的世界現在是不可思議的世界。”一位來自歐洲的外籍中學生說道。
Specially arranged for this activity, the Jinze Art Center hosted six workshops, including events at the Liuli Garden, Weaving Pavilion, Botanic Dye House, Yiyi Pavilion, and the Jinze Kiln, along with three exhibitions: “Jonang Thangka”, “The Wheel of Time: Sand of Mandala”, and a pastry-sculpting show. Activities performed included glass-blowing, sachet-making, sappen bandhnu dyeing, weaving of Chinese knots, purple clay sculpting, bauhinia pastry baking, as well as the art practice of vajry sand mandala painting, drawing of Thangka measurement, and pastry-sculpting within the frame of the three mentioned exhibitions. Additionally, the visiting international high school students were provided the experience of making vegetable baozi, a traditional Chinese folk stuffed bun, at the Sunshine Canteen. Through these experiences, over a hundred students and teachers from BISS widened their knowledge and appreciation for the culture and arts of Tibetan Buddhism, along with developing individual awareness, through the challenges of the workshop’s craftsmanship. Contrary to their apparent simplicity, there is a combination of knowledge and skill required for each step in these practices, and these assets are derived from affection, truth, goodness, and the loving heart of the artisans: just as the freshly polished mirror makes things new and bright. As the French Enlightment philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote in his Émile: “Among all human professions, craft is the most ancient and righteous sort of work, integrating a sense of touch, vision, and intellect, and enabling a healthy growth, which has the greatest impact on human maturity.” Therefore, the significance of contemporary craft lies in the prevention of alienation and marginalization in people’s lives, and the function of buffering tensions generated by the inconformity between technology and culture. Through a day experience at the Jinze Art Center, one significant thing that impressed the students was the re-focus on the essence of ordinary skill. “The future is new, so is the past,” said one of the European students, “The world that use to be, now is a magic one.”
To explore and disseminate the contemporary value of traditional Chinese folk art and craft is what the Shanghai Jinze Art Center conceives as its social responsibility and obligation, and it is committed to those goals. Although the objective basis and conditions of traditional craft have changed, the effort to clearly identify their cultural value and search for a suitable conjunction between modern lifestyles and aesthetics, nonetheless, is still important for future development and transformation, and underlies the intentions for this collaboration between the Jinze Art Center and BISS Puxi in organizing these art and craft experiences.