Last weekend I tried out a revised design for a Chinese character door mat, this time using just two characters, 欢迎 meaning welcome. I also went for larger sized characters than in my previous design.
Having screen printed some tote bags with Chinese characters I thought they might also look good on a door mat. This door mat features the characters 欢迎你 and lets guests know they are welcome. The door mat itself is shop bought with a screen printed design added by me.
These are available to buy from my Etsy store.
Last Friday it started snowing here in the UK and it’s been intermittently snowing since. I took advance of an afternoon off work – we were sent home due to travel issues – to do some screen printing. One of the items I printed were tote bags featuring the Chinese character for bag, 袋 (pronounced Dài in Mandarin).
I printed the design on a basic cotton tote and a canvas tote with gusset using blue ink. You can see the bags (and the snow) in the pictures below. They are also available from my Etsy shop.
Two years ago me and Phil were lucky enough to be in Hong Kong during the mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节). Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the major lunar festivals and there were a wide variety of celebrations taking place while we were in Hong Kong. I’ve included some pictures at the bottom of the post of some of the lantern festivals and the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance which I managed to visit.
To celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival this year I decided to make some mooncake (月饼) cards to give to classmates at the Mandarin evening class I attend each week. I tried two different linocut print designs, my favourite of which is pictured below. This card is available to purchase on either a white or recycled brown card from my Etsy and Folksy stores. Cards are priced at £2.50, with free postage to any location.
If you’re not familiar with mooncakes, they are pastry cakes which typically contain red bean or lotus seed paste and yolks from salted duck eggs. This type of mooncake is very high in calories (typically around 1,000 calories per cake) and filling, so they are usually eaten in small pieces with tea. You can also get more modern variants on the mooncake, including Häagen-Dazs ice cream mooncakes. I was dying to try a Häagen-Dazs moncake while I was in Hong Kong but didn’t manage it as they sold out too fast.
This evening I went to see Jung Chang give the Baggs Memorial Lecture at the University of Birmingham on the topic of happiness. I love both of Chang’s books Wild Swans and Mao so was very keen to hear her speak in person. She did give a previous lecture at the University a number of years ago & unfortunately I missed it so this was my chance to make up for that.
In person, Jung is very glamorous & rather stately. It might be a sign I’m deeply shallow but how a person dresses makes a big impression on me & Jung dressed beautifully. She wore a large brooch on one shoulder which was almost octopus-like which I loved, it was a real statement piece.
Aside from her clothes, what Jung said also made an impression on me. She spoke about her own sense of fulfilment as a writer, but also touched on happiness more generally within China. She made the simple but essential point that people in China can be happy until/unless they come up against the regime. This is true for those whose professions are liable to put them at risk of censorship (artists, directors, writers, historians, etc) but also for the general public when they come up against the Chinese legal system, for example people whose homes have been repossessed as part of development projects.
Seeing inspiring people like Chang always tempts me to chuck in my job and do something more meaningful and fulfilling, but – although I don’t think I am too materialistic – I do find a good wage/pension/annual leave entitlement/sickness pay hard to give up easily. And I do so want to decorate the rest of my house…
Jung mentioned that her next book will be about the Empress Dowager Cixi who I find enormously fascinating so I can’t wait for that. As she said herself it will be a kind-of reverse from her Mao biography which demonised a figure who had previously frequently been celebrated, this will recognise the strengths of a historical figure who has long been demonised.
Me and Phil spent the weekend in Manchester, visiting galleries, shopping & generally wandering around. One of the reasons we made the trip was to see the Chen Man exhibition at Chinese Arts Centre. Chen Man is a leading fashion photographer within China, but this is her first solo exhibition in the UK. I wasn’t previously familiar with her work, but knew it as for me when I saw the exhibition advertised! Chen Man’s work has a very kitsch, stylised look – with her images heavily edited in post-production. I found some of her work, in particular the second image below, reminiscent of Liu Ye. The exhibition is only small (as is the gallery as a whole) but includes a mixture of early and more recent works, including the following:
From the Double Mickey series:
From the Young Pioneers series:
From the Vision magazine cover series:
For Chinese New Year Kino10, a local organisation who specialise in short film screenings, organised a programme of Chinese short film screenings at the Barber Institute. Unfortunately we already had plans so couldn’t get there, but a number of the films screened are available online. Here are a couple of my favourites:
Hua Yang De Nian Hua, Wong Kar-Wai, 2001
Wong Kar-Wai is one of my favourite directors (Happy Together is my favourite of his films). This short, originally screened at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival, is a montage of clips from films thought to be lost, but rediscovered during the 1990s. After the rediscovery of the lost scenes from Metropolis, something I never imagined would happen, I personally have high hopes for many, many more lost films to be rediscovered.
G.U.4, Nixon Leung, 2009
As a gamer I love this love song to retro gaming. It makes me regret I don’t manage to get more time for gaming. I used to set aside Sunday evening as dedicated gaming time, but don’t even seem to manage that now….