Dating festival offers Miao artisan platform

By Yang Jun and Chen Zhuo | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-20 08:05

Dating festival offers Miao artisan platform

Wu Shuigen instructs his daughter in making silver jewelry in Shidong town, Guizhou province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Wu Shuigen has explored different types of crafting skills in silver with his father since he was aged 8. He asked his father questions about new designs each time he saw one on a piece of jewelry.

"It is really a struggle to wear such a huge silver necklace now, and I prefer my silver jewelry to be more handy and practical for people's use today," says Wu Shuigen, who has a different view of the traditional large-sized Miao silver jewelry.

Besides, he enjoys traveling out of Shidong to visit silver shops in cities and likes to experiment with fusion-modern design with traditional craftsmanship.

Wu Shuigen established Shui Gen Ethnic Jewelry Co Ltd in 2010, and made a profit of 2 million yuan ($300,000) in 2016.

When asked about challenges in business, he smiles and says: "I don't think keeping skills to yourself will make you rich but sharing them will and does."

Compared to some other silver artisans in rural Guizhou, he seems more open-minded to share his skills.

Since 1993, Wu Shuigen has trained more than 40 apprentices from neighboring villages. And, 16 of them have their own businesses now.

He has also encouraged his daughter to learn the craft-traditionally only Miao boys are allowed to inherit the craftsmanship.

Wu Shuigen recruits two apprentices every three years and spends his leisure time on teaching the craft at Kaili University in the province.


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