“Zeya Paper Reborn” Project: Revitalization of Zeya’s Traditional Papermaking

Under the guidance of the Italian professor, how would young design students revive the traditional Zeya Paper?

The exhibition “Zeya Paper Reborn” was opened at Longxi Art Museum this October. The “Zeya Paper Reborn” project was jointly planned and participated by Professors and students from Industrial Design and Graphic Design at Michael Graves College, Wenzhou-Kean University. Zheng Xiaodong, WKU’s Deputy Secretary of the CPC Committee and Vice Chancellor, attended the closing ceremony of the exhibition.

In the past year, Professor Maurizio Vrenna and Professor Cui Mengxi led students to combine traditional paper with various materials to design five distinctive lamps. The traditional Zeya Paper exhibits its fascination with innovative and modern products, showing the importance of innovation and design research from the perspective of the younger generation. Hopefully, it will bring new energy to the heritage of Zeya’s ancient paper-making technology and the revitalization of Zeya Town.

Zeya paper has a history of thousands of years. It is a traditional papermaking process listed as a national intangible cultural heritage, and in the past, paper production was the mainstay of the local economy. However, with rapidly changing production and consumption patterns, traditional crafts are losing their appeal and market competitiveness and may be lost forever unless otherwise protected.

The Zeya Paper Reborn project builds up on the interpretation of the value transformation of Zeya traditional paper in the context of intangible cultural heritage protection while arousing people’s consciousness on this topic. A series of five lamps and this exhibition result from one year of hard work. The lamp series consists of A Beautiful SceneryGinkgoGolden DawnMemories of the Village, and Pristine Lake. These lamps with modern and fresh aesthetics are meaningful because they respect the regional culture and tradition by embedding them.

As early as February this year, WKU collaborated with the Zeya government and Longxi Art Museum on the project: the Rural Revitalization of Zeya— Art and Design lights the village. It aimed to redesign the facade of the Farmers’ Market in Yuankou Village to make it conform to the regional aesthetics and artistic temperament of Zeya. WKU MGC has been dedicated to adopting the American teaching system of architecture and design as well as actively guiding students to explore the local culture. Several research groups within the college, such as Wangzhai Village Research Group, “Taishun Covered Bridge” Sino-U.S. Kean Twin Bridge Research Group, and Plaque Research Group all have gained milestone progress.

Translator: FU Yuxi, GU Chang

Proofreader: XIANG Wenwei