Nicely Made in China

China news on quality products, lifestyle, design and services.

Mr.WANG HAORAN / K’O-SSU WORKSHOP

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K’o-ssu – also written kesi – or Chinese silk tapestry, is a complex traditional Chinese weaving technique which had its heyday during the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties. Today there are less than 100 people working across China in this area. Frequently used to make clothes for imperial families and to reproduce famous Chinese paintings, nowadays this little known craft faces extinction due to lack of demand. However, there are signs of renewed interest, and to learn more about this precious technique, Nicely Made in China travelled to “textile town”, Nantong in Jiangsu province, to visit a young K’o-ssu maker, Mr. Wang Haoran.

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BEZ & OHO / HANDBAGS

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Today Nicely Made in China (NMiC) shares with you a beautiful story and a great product. Annalisa Ryle arrived in Hong Kong 13 years ago via the volunteer route working with the St. Stephen’s Society – in fact her office is still on the charity’s premises in Hong Kong. 5 years ago she founded Bez & Oho (after the biblical characters Bezalel and Oholiab), a company which makes cool handbags out of recycled rice bags while providing jobs to vulnerable people. Read the rest of this entry »

M. LAU ON HING / QIPAO TAILOR

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In the high-speed world that is China today, we at Nicely Made in China (NMiC) find it reassuring to discover that some things don’t change! NMiC recently met with Mr Lau, a qipao or cheongsam tailor, in his workshop in Hong Kong.  A sprightly sexagenarian with a mischievous smile, he has for 50 years been hand-making exquisite qipao – a form of traditional Chinese dress. Originally from Shanghai, he came to Hong Kong aged 14 to learn the craft and is now one of the last remaining ‘Shanghai tailors’, as they’re known in Hong Kong, still working today. Read the rest of this entry »

LATITUDE / PORCELAIN

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This week Nicely Made in China (NMiC) presents a couple who has decided to take on one of China’s traditional crafts – porcelain. Born into a Hong Kong-based Swiss family, Julie Progin and her American husband Jesse McLin, have recently created Latitude Design Studio, a young and promising company. In a double interview they tell NMiC about setting up and working with an artisan community in Jingdezhen. Read the rest of this entry »

SUREN HANDMADE / HANDBAGS

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This week’s story is about a company barely known outside China even though it has been making high quality leather products for many years. NMiC would like to introduce the company “Suren” (pronounced « sue jhen »), together  with Mao Shu Hong, general manager and her husband Yang Bao Guang, the head designer. In order to meet them NMiC took an hour’s drive north of Beijing on a gorgeous blue sky day (Beijingers will appreciate that detail). Ben O’Hara, Canadian TV’s Beijing correspondent came with us, to visit the couple’s design studio and small factory. Read the rest of this entry »

NORLHA SHAWLS

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At an altitude of 3200m in Gansu province, the company Norlha produces the most exquisite shawls. These shawls, made mainly of yak wool (khullu), have become much sought after in shops from Paris to Shanghai. Nicely Made in China spoke to the owner, Kim Sciaky-Yeshi, to find out what makes them so special and successful.

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Mr. GAO ZHENMIN-LUTHIER

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This week Nicely Made in China gives centre stage to Mr Gao ZhenMin, a luthier, owner of Huaming Bass. Mr Gao Zhenmin lives in Hebei and makes his speciality to build and repair double-basses and cellos with his wife, Ms Wen YaXia. NMiC paid him a call in his Hebei workshop where a collection of stringed instruments await his attention between fragrant Sichuan maple and alcohol-based home-made varnish.

When did you open your workshop?

In 2004, after working for 7 years at the oldest Beijing instruments-making factory where I was assembling, adjusting and testing the instruments. While working there I met a lot of music professors who told me there was a niche market in making instruments for high-end classical and jazz musicians. That’s how it started.

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BLUE SHANGHAI WHITE

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The Nicely Made in China product of the week is as old as China itself.  Chinese ceramics, since it is ceramics and porcelain we’ll be talking about, are back in fashion again. Hai Chen, Blue Shanghai White owner and main designer grants NMiC an interview.

Hai Chen, how did you become a ceramist and when did you start Blue Shanghai White?

I studied fine arts and ceramics from 1987 to 1991 at the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts and at Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts & Design from 1992 until 1996. I created my company in 2003.

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