|Painstaking craft: A bonsai product usually takes Đức about two or three hours to complete, but the bigger tree may take a week or even longer if it has a unique design. VNS Photo Trung Hiếu
Would you believe that bonsai trees made from copper wire can be as beautiful as the real thing? Lê Duy Đức, manager of the Handmade Art page on Facebook, can confirm this is the case. Hoàng Trung Hiếu reports.
Every Saturday or Sunday morning, at a café in Hà Nội’s Long Biên District, Lê Duy Đức teaches his skills to a small group.
"Bonsai trees made from artificial materials have been around for a long time, and I encountered the process back in 2005. At that time, I grew real bonsai. Once, when I went to buy scrap mental wire to shape my trees, I found a lot of small aluminum wire, so my original intention was to use this to wrap and shape the young branches of the bonsai. But then I had the idea of making a tree out of the metal wire itself.
“During my first attempts at this, I began to use copper wire. The wire I used most frequently was between 0.5 to 1mm in size," he said.
Creating a bonsai out of copper wire is never a simple job.
Before making a bonsai tree, in addition to preparing the necessary materials, the maker must have a specific idea in mind.
“To make a product, the first thing, we should have an idea about what we will make.
"We can’t painstakingly make a product without determining the meaning and the shape of the work. The shape for the bonsai should be clearly defined before the process begins. Each tree should fit a specific container,” Đức said.
The next step is to choose some hard metal wire to make the “skeleton” (the trunk) for the bonsai. Đức said steel wire is not recommended because it is too hard, so the bonsai would not have a natural shape.
|Work of art: Đức uses copper wire to make the bonsai trunk, then uses different kinds of plastic, wood, crystal, or stone beads to make the bonsai’s leaves. VNS Photo Trung Hiếu
He uses copper wire to make the bonsai trunk, then uses different kinds of plastic, wood, crystal, or stone beads to make the tree’s leaves. Đức reveals that these beads can be bought in Hàng Mã Street and Đồng Xuân Market of Hà Nội.
After finishing the shape of the bonsai, the maker continues to add decorative items such as small statues, driftwood, or pieces of rocks.
A bonsai product usually takes him about two or three hours to complete, but the bigger tree may take a week or even longer if it involves a unique design.
Sometimes, if clients want a product in line with feng shui, the maker would need to choose suitable materials and colours, he added.
Đức recalled: "Previously I did not have access to social networks, so had no opportunity to exchange with other fans of this art. I just made these products to satisfy my own interest, and as gifts for friends.
“In 2013, I began to use Facebook and I saw people all over the world who shared the same passion of making metal bonsai. I compared their methods with mine to perfect my craft".
|Natural shape: One of Đức’s bonsai products made with copper. VNS Photo Trung Hiếu
Unfortunately, his family complained that Đức spent too much time and effort on his work, and he was forced to stop his passion temporarily.
Recently, thanks to encouragement from friends, Đức began to return to this work. He now holds a free class on metal bonsai every weekend.
Đức does not keep secrets, sharing all of his skills with those who share in his passion. Because "passion is a fire, if we want the fire to burn strongly, we need more people,” he said.
With his eyes focusing on a half-finished product, Đức said: "The most important thing is passion. When the passion is big enough, you will have enough perseverance to sit for hours just to perfect each little detail."
Lê Thị Phương Lan, one of his students, said she made friends with Đức last year on Facebook, as she was impressed with his products, and began to learn the skill.
“Đức teaches us very carefully. Thanks to his guidance, I understood what makes a metal bonsai, and now I am able to create my own products,” she said.
“This art is my passion so I will be patient and put all my effort into the craft,” Lan added. VNS