“Small figurine” by Zibo: a beautiful handmade business card of Zhangdian region – Novgorod Gazette Veliky Novgorod

“Preparation of Silk”, “Noble Ladies with Fans”, “Noble Ladies of the Guo Domain Walking in Spring” – these long-known Chinese paintings in the hands of Wang Ji, the founder of the “Small Figurine” polymer clay workshop, turned in voluminous clay figurines that look like life. Their variety is truly amazing.

The founder of “Little Figurine” polymer clay workshop Wang Zhi makes clay figurines

Wang Ji graduated from Beijing Normal University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, where he studied under sculptor and professor Yu Jianhua. After graduation, she decisively abandoned her career in the city and returned to her hometown, where she founded the Little Figurine polymer clay workshop. “We started this business because we love our hometown Jibo very much and strive to preserve its traditional culture,” said Wang Jie, recalling the history of his business development.

In the 1st Revival of Traditional Crafts – Lu Ban Cup Competition held in September 2022, the clay composition “Zhoucun Wick” made by Zibo Xiao Xami Tao’yi Chuangzuo was positively selected among 12,278 entries and received a gold medal in the category “Engraving and Sculpture”.

Award-winning composition “Fuse in Zhoucun District”

The big prize didn’t come easily. It took almost two years, during which more than ten people, led by Wang Zhi, conducted research, went from the idea to the search for the object of their creativity, and then proceeded to the design, step by step approaching the completion of the composition “Wick in an area Jouzun.” “The composition recreates the scenery of the old fair in the Zhoucun district. The total length of the composition is 22 m. With the help of polymer clay, more than 260 characters were created, reflecting the life of the city market. By depicting large-scale episodes, we imagined life in the market, which is frequented by various artisans,” said Wang Jie.

Award-winning composition “Fuse in Zhoucun District”

The real reason for the rapid growth of the Little Figurine Polymer Clay Workshop is the rapid development of craft production in Shandong Province. In March this year, a project was launched in Shandong Province to promote crafts in the region. The project aims to use the rich cultural resources that are the advantage of the province, to focus on intangible or traditional crafts, and by introducing creative ideas, to explore new models for the preservation of cultural values ​​and to develop manual production. Thus, handicraft production in Shandong Province acquired a new epochal significance.

The success achieved by the Little Figurine Workshop team is inextricably linked to the employment and entrepreneurship promotion platform that was established in Zhangdian District, Zibo City. “As a university graduate who returned to her hometown to do business, the Zibo administration allowed me to take advantage of soft loans to promote entrepreneurship, social security and other benefits. In addition, my employees have received student grants to promote their employment, relatives’ grants and housing grants,” Wang Jie said. In recent years, she has been able to recruit many students to her team and hopes to contribute to the creation of a new cultural industry and the revival of traditional crafts.

Tradition and fashion, solidity and precision, following tradition and innovation: crafts in Shandong Province are changing the perception of the image of the culture of this region. Zhangdian District of Zibo City will continue to use the resources that are the advantage of the region, develop handicrafts, use traditional culture to stimulate market activity, maintain the cultural diversity of the market, provide opportunity for handicrafts to really stimulate industry development and become a new engine for increasing soft power. » of the city, as well as to demonstrate a new “business card” of the city’s culture.

Source: Zhangdian District People’s Government Press Office. Text by Pan Qi, photos by Wang Zhi.

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