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Feb 12, 2024 / 07:04

Hanoi artist paints with cloth and needle

In fine arts, painters often use brushes and paints, but artist Nguyen Thu Huyen uses needles and fabrics to create works of any theme.

As the year of Dragon has arrived, artist Nguyen Thu Huyen's art house in Hanoi echoes with the laughter of her students eagerly painting ao dai (traditional long dress).

Huyen is a famous name in the field of fabric collage. In recent years, she has also spent time teaching drawing and writing books on the art. For Huyen, making fabric collages is her passion, while teaching and writing books is her career to spread her love of art to others.

Unique creation

Huyen has loved art since she was a child. In 2006, she started posting her work on her blog and received positive feedback from many people. Since then, Huyen has nurtured her passion and tried more sophisticated works of art.

Beautiful Flower, a piece made of silk and tafta.

Vietnamese Beauty, the first collage Huyen made with a friend who shared her interest in the costumes of Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups, was completed in six months and is currently on display at the Vietnamese Women's Museum.

Upon entering the realm of collage, she realized she was not the only artist pursuing this genre, so she found her own way to make her works stand out from those of other artists.

Huyen chooses different materials for her works instead of using a single type of fabric. She also blended every detail into the collage and bordered it with thread to create a complete work. The themes of her works focus on the beauty of Hanoi women and the landscape.

Commenting on Huyen's works, critic Hoang Anh said that quilting is an art form all around the world. In Vietnam, Huyen is one of the youngest quilting artists with extraordinary creations.
"Quilting is widely used in the fashion industry. However, not many people can use quilting to create an independent artwork that meets the criteria of fine art. Huyen has successfully used fabric as a material to create artwork. She has found her own way to pursue art," Anh said.

Spreading the love of art

In 2014, Huyen opened drawing classes for students of all ages at House of Art.

Initially, she founded the center out of her passion for fine arts, and then out of her desire to see children receive early guidance and professional instruction to best develop their skills.

 Nguyen Thu Huyen is a popular name in the fabric collage line in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the artist

The initial idea was to bring art to everyone, but the teaching process provided Huyen with many emotions and experiences. The artist says she herself has been inspired by her students.

"I have a student in her 60s who has had a passion for painting since childhood, but due to family restrictions and the burden of earning money, she cannot pursue her passion. This woman helped me understand that at 60 or 70, it is not too late for us to pursue our passion and dream," Huyen said.

In addition to teaching, Huyen has written art books for children and has had nine books published. Born in the Year of the Dragon in 1988, this year, Huyen will celebrate her zodiac sign by completing a book exploring the traditional costumes of countries around the world. It is expected her biggest project because she has to draw the traditional costumes of 40 countries and compile the book.

When asked to describe herself in five words, Huyen was quick to respond: Humble, creative, steadfast, energetic and kind. She always keeps them in mind as she continues her artistic journey.