Not just architecture, the design of everyday items from Vietnamese ethnic groups has always been an inspiration for Handhome. With them we get to look deeper into traditional design heritage that helps keep the characteristic of different peoples. Collecting such items is one of our methods of documenting fundamental values in their daily life, both physical and spiritual.
In Thai, Kho Mu peoples’ families from Northwest to North Central mountainous areas in Vietnam, tray is a common item, it’s called “phuon tre” or “pan tre” (tre: bamboo) depending on the group of people. Besides being served in every meal, it’s also used to hold offerings to their ancestors.
The tray is made of bamboo, cane and consists of two parts: The surface and cylindrical legs. After being completed, people can put the tray in salt water for one day so that it turns white. The tray stands at 50cm high. It’s longevity depends on the quality of materials, makers’ skills with the time may up to 20 years or longer.
The materials used to make the tray can be found in nature, although the selection has to be careful. Old bamboo, cane with straight stems are recommended. Bamboo shoulld be used right away to avoid termites and drying up, which makes it hard to cut. When used, bamboo is cut into pieces, sharpen to fit with each item. Before being assembled they’re also put in water to increase flexibility.
It takes a couple of days, even months to complete a product. The techniques may vary from grid, vertical to horizontal knitting. Trays are usually put on stoves to smoke, rendering its durability and avoiding termites. Thai people’s bamboo daily items show their understanding of nature as well as craftmanship. Many peoples in Vietnam share mutual craft in making bamboo and cane, their influence on each other can be seen clearly.