Hanoi artist creates art with fabric and thread

In the world of fine arts, painters typically rely on brushes and paints to bring their creations to life. However, for artist Nguyen Thu Huyen, her medium of choice is needles and fabrics. Through her unique approach, she is able to create stunning works of art that encompass any theme imaginable.

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As the Year of the Dragon has begun, artist Nguyen Thu Huyen’s art house in Hanoi is filled with the delighted laughter of her students, enthusiastically painting traditional long dresses, known as “ao dai”.

Huyen is a renowned figure in the field of fabric collage. In recent years, she has also dedicated her time to teaching drawing and writing books about art. For Huyen, fabric collage is her passion, while teaching and writing books serve as a career to share her love for art with others.

Distinctive Artistry

Art has always held a special place in Huyen’s heart since childhood. In 2006, she began showcasing her work on her blog and received positive feedback from numerous individuals. Since then, Huyen has nurtured her passion and explored more sophisticated forms of art.

Beautiful Flower, a piece made of silk and tafta.

The first collage Huyen created, called “Vietnamese Beauty”, was a joint project with a friend who shared her fascination with the costumes of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. The artwork took them six months to complete and is currently on display at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum.

Upon delving deeper into the realm of collage, Huyen realized that she was not the only artist pursuing this genre. Thus, she found her own unique approach to distinguish her creations from those of her counterparts.

Instead of solely using one type of fabric, Huyen selects diverse materials for her works. She meticulously incorporates every detail into the collage and borders it with thread, resulting in a complete masterpiece. Her works mainly center around the beauty of Hanoi women and the landscapes.

Critic Hoang Anh, when commenting on Huyen’s creations, expressed that quilting is a prevalent art form across the globe. Huyen, among the youngest quilting artists in Vietnam, stands out with her extraordinary works.
“Quilting is extensively utilized in the fashion industry. Nevertheless, only a few can utilize quilting to create independent artwork that satisfies the criteria of fine art. Huyen has successfully employed fabric as a medium to create artwork, forging her own path in the world of art,” Anh said.

Spreading the Love for Art

In 2014, Huyen established drawing classes at the House of Art, catering to students of all ages.

Initially, her motivation was to make art accessible to everyone. However, the teaching experience has not only fulfilled this objective, but also provided Huyen with a plethora of emotions and experiences. The artist shared that her students have been a great source of inspiration to her.

“I have a student in her 60s who has possessed a deep passion for painting since childhood. Yet, due to familial obligations and the need to earn a living, she was never able to pursue her passion. This woman helped me realize that at 60 or 70, it is never too late to pursue our dreams and passions,” Huyen expressed.

 Nguyen Thu Huyen is a prominent figure in the field of fabric collage in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the artist

In addition to teaching, Huyen has authored art books for children, with a total of nine published books to her name. Born in the Year of the Dragon in 1988, Huyen plans to commemorate her zodiac sign by completing a book exploring the traditional costumes of 40 countries across the globe. This project is expected to be her most ambitious yet, requiring her to illustrate the traditional costumes of each country and compile them into a book.

When asked to describe herself in five words, Huyen promptly responded: Humble, Creative, Steadfast, Energetic, and Kind. These are the values she firmly holds onto as she continues on her artistic journey.