SIGNED magazine #29

23 On conserving and reviving traditional Chinese craftsmanship, KCG embraces a collection of philosophies, execution methods and values that are evidently different from other similar organisations. For example, it attaches more importance on integrating cultural research and art creation and crossing over traditional techniques with contemporary designs. KCG offers artisans a platform to demonstrate and promote their craftsmanship, educate and popularise their creations, as well as to create items that can be appreciated and used, etc. Mo explained, "To modernise and to make art chic are one of the directions on which we insist. We do not want to stop at upholding and passing on these traditional crafts. Instead, we strive to revive them in a way that they stay relevant to contemporary living, and that they stay innovative. Traditional crafts must be practical in everyday life, resonate with their users, and set the trend." This is exactly why KCG has lined up many collaborative projects with young artists. These are organised to give a boost to the chic aspect, and to capture the attention of Hong Kong youth. Whether it is conservation or revival, an engaging new generation willing to take part in them is crucial. The consumer market and the way that cultures are spread both illustrate that the pastime and social media of the young ones are completely different from what used to be popular. Such evolution sparked KCG to position traditional craftsmanship at the forefront of trends. "We have done quite a few crossover projects to introduce the crafts into different scenarios of everyday life, so as to redefine their conventional image. The results demonstrate that cultural heritage can do much more than being collected by museums. The possibilities are endless and they can be involved in all aspects of our life." Mo commented, "Unlike pure art, crafts are more concerned with how they are created. However, the paintings on Guangcai are art on their own - they are carriers for the artisans' art. The skills applied to Guangcai paintings are based on Chinese ink, but they can be portrayed in a highly contemporary way. In the past, Guangcai was a privilege of the royals, aristocrats and the rich. The general public rarely had the chance to use them. But the intricacies of Guangcai art were a genuine expression of Chinese craftsmanship, which fostered its spread to the whole world. We hope that our work on transforming traditional crafts into modern applications can connect them with many more people throughout China, who will come to learn and understand the art. All in all, the goal of our promotion is to demonstrate how Chinese culture could affect the whole wide world. This is dear to the heart of the 'Chinese is Cool' direction." Every traditional Chinese craft project that KCG works on begins with academic research, because craftsmanship is usually lost as a result of overly relying on verbal transmission, inadequate textual records, or disorganised descriptions. KCG does the groundwork, delves into the origin, observes and records the refined techniques and studies feasible directions for the future. Mo said, "We believe that relevant academic research can serve as an archive, which can be used as a system to collate all related information about traditional craftsmanship. A bilingual (Chinese and English) monograph dedicated to Guangcai research is scheduled for publication this year. Master Yang Jianping is the chief writer. This is the first step of KCG for bringing traditional Chinese crafts to the world." 3 Charlene Mo, Board Member of KCG KCG董事莫翠瑜