The earliest bamboo weaving goods were discovered amidst the ruins of Hemudu culture in southeast China 7000 years ago. This technique had evolved substantially during the Warring States period around 450 BC, and ever since. Due to its strong fiber content, flexibility, and affordability, bamboo has been widely applied in architecture, furniture, appliances, as well as art.
This 5 hour class is spread out over 2 sessions. It gives an introduction to bamboo, and teaches the hex style of bamboo weaving. Based upon our teaching experiences, a small basket weaving for beginners need two class sessions. This way, students can have a good learning experience without being rushed. It is hands-on, but it doesn’t limit the techniques. Lu uses this small project to pry open the wonderland of bamboo weaving, a long and yet evolving tradition in various parts of the world.
What’s special about bamboo? Do you know that the bamboo fiber can in some cases be stronger than steel? Have you seen bamboo houses before?
After the class, students have a beautiful bamboo weaving project home of their very own and also widened perspectives of a miracle material.
This course will be held over Zoom. It is limited to 15 people in order to offer more interaction with peers and instructors. The zoom link will be emailed to students after signing up for the course. A recording of class will be available for 1 week after class for participants. (you will be getting a little bit of 'homework' to work on your basket in between class sessions - be prepared!)
This course has 4 free seats for the BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) community to take this course at cost for the materials fee of $42. Fireweed believes in wealth re-distribution while our nation has still not offered proper reparations to marginalized communities. The course registration will be waived for individuals who identify as BIPOC.
Course materials include: Bamboo Strips. Materials can be picked up/dropped off for local students at the East Lake Library Location in Minneapolis starting 1 week before class. Out of state students will be given the option of requesting shipping for an additional $9.50. (covers priority shipping).
Meet the Instructor, Lu Xu
Lu Xu is an artist and curator based in Guizhou, China and Greensboro, NC, USA. She grew up in the Yungui Plateau area in Southwest China and has always been intrigued by the indigenous ethnic cultures in this region. She has exhibited at Tapir Gallery, Berlin, Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Weatherspoon Museum of Art, NC, Elsewhere Museum, NC, and was a fellow artist at Franconia Sculpture Park, MN, in 2016 and Salem2Salem at Bodenseekreis, Salem, Germany and Salem Art Works, NY, in 2018-19. Lu Xu worked as the Curator of Gatewood Gallery and Director of Art Truck at School of Art, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro from 2015-17.
Through performative and participatory works, Lu situates herself in everyday life scenes, unfamiliar geographic locations, or in interactions with other people. Her works challenge the standard language and efficiencies in the mundane by being physically tiring, time consuming, absurd, obscure, unpredictable, and impractical, such as such as walking 72 miles in the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay area, dragging a five-foot long boat for 2.5 miles for a routine grocery shopping trip, incorporating origami to tell two coincidental stories in a circular subway line in Beijing, or asking people to assign me 15-second tasks through an online portal. She uses her body in neutral and low-key means as tools to reveal alternative, unfamiliar possibilities. She puts herself under challenging conditions in the context of the mundane in order explore unproductivity’s richness, aliveness, and poetry.
Due to her international experiences and ties to indigenous ethnic cultures in Guizhou, she has been conducting field research in Yao and Dong ethnic villages in the last four years to accomplish a series of artwork. She learned bamboo weaving as a kid and in 2018 from a local bamboo weaver, an 83-year-old man who has been weaving bamboo for 60 years. She is currently working on a 6-feet long, 3-feet wide bamboo sculpture, and will share during the class. She is fascinated by this material and hopes to share her passion with more makers.
Materials note** The bamboo stripes were prepared by hand by a Chinese bamboo craftsman in Sichuan, China. They were already bleached to avoid bugs and mold. Lu wrapped the strips and gives each person 6 extra. The material bags are bit more expensive than usual because they were sent from China through air and the shipping is very expensive.
Class cost breakdown per student:
Instructor receives $30
Admin receives $5
Website/zoom subscription $10
Materials cost breakdown of $42
Bamboo Strips $31
Alligator clips. $3
Wood Glue: $2
Shipping from Lu: $6
**Note: Students should have a spray bottle of water (preferred) or a bowl of water handy during class