An artist enables the disabled to create copper wire art

By Quynh Tran   June 18, 2020 | 04:15 pm GMT+7

For three years, Nguyen Nhat Minh Phuong has been training people with disabilities to create paintings, jewelry and other souvenirs using copper wire.

Phuong (second from right) opened free vocation school in Go Vap Disitrict three years ago.

Over the past three years, Phuong (second right), at her free vocational training school in HCMC’s Go Vap District, has trained about 50 people and is training about 10 now . Each trainee gets paid between VND5-9 million ($214-386) per month.
The 34-year-old teacher has been recognized by Guinness Vietnam as the first copper wire artist in Vietnam. She has been pursuing this art form since 2001.
"After seeing the challenges that people with disabilities face when I was doing volunteer work, I wanted to do something to help them. When my copper wire art career became widely known, there were many people who wanted to study it. But I refused and only taught people with disabilities," said the former preschool teacher.

Artist will sketch out the design on a piece of paper, form the wire to make the frame work, make the designs before attaching the paper to the piece to the paper as the background.At the end of May, the class completed artworks on the topic of Covid-19 outbreak. Tran Van Tu, 27, one of the first student who is currently in charge of managing the classroom, is combining two artworks together.Having mobility impairments and facing challenges when moving around, he is grateful to find a job that he can sit down to work. Before that, I worked at a food company and had to move around a lot, which was very challenging. I came across this class online and asked to enroll. Phuong was kind and taught me wholeheartedly. I plan to keep on following and to perfect this profession, the Nghe An Province man said.

Artists sketch out the design on a piece of paper and twist the wire to make the framework and fill it in with more twisted wires.
At the end of May, the class completed artworks on the topic of Covid-19. Tran Van Tu, 27, one of the first students who is currently in charge of managing the classroom, can be seen combining two artworks together.
Suffering from mobility impairments that makes it difficult for him to move around, he said he was grateful to find a job where he can sit down to work. "Earlier, I worked at a food company and had to move around a lot, which was very challenging. I came across this class online and asked to enroll. Phuong was kind and taught me wholeheartedly. I plan to keep on following this and to perfect this profession," the Nghe An native said.

Le Huu Tai, 35, is bending and wrapping copper wires to make a picture frame. This is just a frame for one of the details. A complete picture requires a lot of frames like this. Copper wire must be hard and thick to make a solid frame, he said.He used to work in information technology. He has a motor impairment and has been attending the class for more than a year. He will be later assigned to design tasks after few more training.

Le Huu Tai, 35, bends and twists copper wires to make a picture frame. "This is just a frame for one of the details. A complete picture requires a lot of frames like this. Copper wire must be hard and thick to make a solid frame," he said.
Tai, who suffers from motor impairment, used to work in information technology before. He has been attending the class for more than a year now. After some more training, he will he assigned to design tasks.

Duong Thi My Huyen, from Quang Ngai Province, suffers from muscle atrophy. Huyen studied pharmacology but could not find job related to her degree.  After more than a year of joining Phuongs class, there are still stages that need instruction but Huyen has made simple pictures and jewelry. Making copper wire paintings is the most difficult thing when it comes to winding the wrong wire, it must be removed very hard. I find this job suitable for me and will try to learn and improve my skills, said the 25-year-old girl.

Duong Thi My Huyen of central Quang Ngai Province, suffers from muscle atrophy. Huyen studied pharmacology but could not find a job related to her degree. After more than a year of joining Phuong's class, she now knows how to make simple pictures and pieces of jewelry. "The most difficult thing is you have to unwind the completed part when you make a mistake. But I find this job suitable for me and will try to learn and improve my skills," said the 25-year-old girl woman.

Phuong uses sign languages to communicates with her students.

Phuong uses sign languages to communicate with some of her students. She said there were many talented students. However, even if they are quick learners, some find it difficult to perfect this art form since it requires lots of patience and training, she added.

26-year-old Dao Thi Thanh Thi (right), said: I enjoy learning about this profession. I am deaf. Before that, I was a hairdresser. I used to be a hairdresser. But I often get scolded by the owner since I struggled to understand the needs of customers due to my hearing impairment. Now meeting Phuong, I can use sign language, help me share a lot in life.

26-year-old Dao Thi Thanh Thi (right), said: "I enjoy learning this skill. I am deaf. I used to be a hairdresser. But I was scolded often by my employer since I struggled to understand the needs of customers due to my hearing impairment."

Thi and other students are divided into groups to perform different tasks. She is assigned to wind copper wire into the frame, in accordance with the position of the colored marks marked in the sketch. Many people with disabilities have also earned extra income from making jewelry and accessories from copper wires. Others stayed with Phuong to make wire art works, because the work required group work and was paid.

Thi and other students are divided into groups to perform different tasks. She has been assigned to wind copper wire into the frame in accordance with different colors in the sketch.
Several people with disabilities have managed to earn extra income by making jewelry and accessories after taking Phuong’s class. Others have stayed with Phuong to make art works for the training center to sell and raise funds.

An art work worth VND150 million (around $6,400) of Empress Nam Phuong, the first wife of King Bao Dai (reining 1926 to 1945), the last emperor of Vietnam.Phuong has sold half of the total 70 art works, with each costs from a few dozen to hundreds of millions (VND10 million = $430). She said that a beautiful copper wire picture requires usage of color, harmonious composition and soft movements. But she said the toughest past is creating the spirit of the eyes.

An art work worth VND150 million (around $6,400) features Empress Nam Phuong, the first wife of King Bao Dai, Vietnam’s last emperor, who reigned from 1926 to 1945.
Phuong has sold half of the total of 70 art works created so far, each costing from a few dozen to hundreds of millions of dong (VND10 million = $430). She said that a beautiful copper wire picture requires usage of color, harmonious composition and soft movements. While all this is painstaking work, the toughest part is giving life to the eyes, she said.

A copper wire art depicting a mother pig with five young pigs which follows Dong Ho folk painting designs. The work was made by the students from start to finish.

A copper wire artwork depicting the popular Dong Ho folk painting theme of a mother pig with five piglets. The work was made by the students, Phuong said.

Phuong reavled that her two most expensive works, worth VND300 million (around $12,860), are a pieace of the reclining Buddha and one of an elephant

Phuong said that the two most expensive works created at her center, worth VND300 million (around $12,860) each, are the "Reclining Buddha" and "Elephant for World Peace."
"These are my favorites, it took me nearly a month to complete. There are a few people who asked to buy them but I haven't sold them because I want to hold a copper wire art exhibition in the near future," Phuong said.
She said the copper wire art works are sold or auctioned in both domestic and foreign markets.

 
 
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