Zhi Zha technique, originating from the ancient folk religious worship activities, has gradually become a decorative art to celebrate festivals. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it spread throughout urban and rural areas.

These paper binding products take bamboo, wood, thread, and paper as the main materials. Artists use bamboo and wood to make the skeleton, bind the different sections with thread, and paste colored paper for decoration. Zhi Zha technique is a folk art that integrates binding, pasting, paper cutting, clay sculpture, color painting, and other skills.

Step One: Bamboo Skeleton
Step Two: Covered with paper
Step Three: Paint in Color

Intrigued by Zhi Zha technique, I wonder if it is possible to adapt the theory of Zhi Zha technique and apply the theory by using another material.

In my perspective, Zhi Zha should not just be seen as decorative art. Its hollowed linear structure, lightweight bamboo skeleton, creative shape forming, and beautiful painting on the surface could turn itself into a more structural technique.

Coincidentally, I found a video from Youtube called (click) Bending Veneer Against the Grain that was made by Javad Shadzi. In his video, he show the process to bend veneer against (bend perpendicular to the grain) the grain about a 1.25” radius using an iron and the PVA glue technique.

Briefly, Javad applied the wood glue on both veneer and the woodblock and waited till the glue was totally dry. He used an iron, set the temperature between medium and high, placed the veneer on the woodblock in the right orientation, and then pressed the iron on the veneer to the woodblock. The dried glue melted and combined the two attaching surfaces tightly.

I bought a package of reed coil to replace the bamboo, and used thin veneer to replace the paper. I tried the same gluing technique from the video: Both the reed coil and the veneer were painted with wood glue. I utilized a heated iron to compress the veneer to the reed coil after the wood glue was settled.

It worked really well! The veneer was permanently attached to the reed coil no matter how exaggerated I bent the reed coil.

In Process

I started to explore the technique on a larger scale. I used the thin fish wire to bind the reed coil together to build a lightweight hollowed structure. Then I applied wood glue on both veneer and reed structures, heat the dried glue to combine the veneer piece to the reed structure.

Final ( Shoot in my Studio)

The reason why I consider it is interesting is that the theory of Zhi Zha technique could be adapted and projected successfully by using other materials. Also, different materials have different properties, which means it is possible to discover a new form or structure by transforming the same technique through different materials.

For example, I could picture that I use the same Zhi Zha technique to make a laminated veneer hollow structure. Furthermore, a metal or plastic structure could also be made through the same technique.

Sounds exciting, isn’t it?

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