The project aims to revive people’s interest in the traditional materials like Do paper and get them to learn more about Vietnamese folk arts.

As Vietnam has developed, many of its traditions have steadily declined and are on the verge of fading from people’s memories. 

Recognizing that making Do paper was a dying craft, the “Zo” project, looking for a way to keep Do paper alive, set a plan to preserve and promote this priceless cultural value. 

Van Anh, a member of the Zo project, told about the inspiration and aim of the project. 

“In the first stage, we focused mainly on Do paper, so “Do” can be considered the inspiration of the project. Do paper is used to create a wide range of items: notebooks, postcards, lamps, iphone case, lanterns, calendars, envelopes, and more. 3 years after we started, we have been successful in building our own brand.  “Do” is now a good choice for making many modern decorative products”

A sheet of resilient Do paper is the result of a painstaking paper-making process involving many people. 

Three years on, the project has branched out into making other kinds of paper. 

Van Anh said, “We were worried by the fact that there are only a few artisans that still do this craft, and on a very small scale. We asked ourselves, how can we preserve traditional calligraphy without its staple material- Do paper?.”

“We have been working with paper-making artisans in Hoa Binh province to develop a new kind of paper made from “Duong” bark, which is easier to grow and is therefore cheaper and can be used to make a variety of handicrafts. We have also applied some new techniques to diversify the paper choices. Real “do” paper, though, is still irreplaceable despite significant developments with newer materials,” she said.

The Zo Project has produced many exciting and creative products which have helped to build its brand name. 

Located in a small alley in Hanoi, the little “Zo” shop is always full of customers searching for unique designs and products made from traditional paper. 

The shop’s beautiful handmade items excite the interest of Vietnamese and foreigners alike. 

Diana Bustamante from Argentina said, “I read about them on the internet. I found them through a friend, who recommended me this shop. Well, its paper is handmade, which is completely different from the others, yes, I mean the quality and it takes a lot of work to make it. It’s a long process and that makes it valuable for me at least.

Zo customer Thu Huong, was also impressed with Zo paper and its products.

She said, “Zo” is a very good model of a start-up project. The project members have diversified and modernized its products to meet market demand.”

“When I came here, I was shown product sets, for example, wedding ceremony or birthday party sets, which were really impressive. And the designers also use Do paper to print traditional items like Buddha pictures,” she added.

Diana Wagner – a product designer from France, who is deeply in love with traditional Vietnamese folk arts, especially traditional paper, has been working with the project to preserve Do paper. 

“Zo project is a very good project. The small company should take example of this. It’s a kind of message somehow. I think that one of the most important thing here, like to preserve traditional craft, because I was told the story of Do paper, that it’s going to disappear. And it’s very sad. So I want to help them develop and make new things so that people won’t forget this traditional craft,” he said.

The project team believes that once people understand the value of Do paper and Vietnam’s traditional art forms, traditional values will be uphold in a simpler and more sustainable way.