China News Service, Chaozhou, March 13th: "Post-90s" Chaozhou woodcarving inheritor Chen Jia: Interpreting the unique skills of the knife between the square inches

  Author Sun Qiuxia

  In the intangible cultural heritage market of Guangji Bridge in Chaozhou, you can often see Chen Jia, the inheritor of Chaozhou woodcarving, holding a wooden hammer in one hand and a carving knife in the other. Shrimp" and "crab", they either fight against each other, or cuddle with each other.

  Chaozhou woodcarving is one of the four major woodcarvings in China. It is especially famous for its multi-layered piercing techniques and golden lacquer decoration techniques. It is listed as a national intangible cultural heritage.

Among them, "Lobster and Crab Basket" is a common local scenery theme in Chaozhou woodcarving, which means that the fishermen are happy to have a good harvest and come from all directions.

The "Lobster Crab Basket" created by different craftsmen has its own merits.

  As a "post-90s" craftsman, Chen Jia is good at making wood carvings into small ornaments or daily necessities.

"Our girls like some delicate things. Sometimes I will make some excess wood into necessities in people's lives, so that more people can understand and accept Chaozhou woodcarving." Chen Jia said in an interview with Chinanews recently. .

The picture shows Chen Jia making fine parts with a carving knife and a wooden hammer. Photo by Chen Chuhong

He used wood as a toy since he was a child, and began to learn wood carving at the age of 14

  Chen Jia was born in a woodcarving family. His grandfather, Chen Shunqiang, was a master of Chinese arts and crafts, and his father, Chen Peixi, was a senior arts and crafts artist in Guangdong Province.

Under the influence of her family, she began to learn wood carving at the age of 14 and is now a skilled craftsman.

  "I watched my parents make wood carvings since I was a child, and my toys were also made of these woods. I still remember when I was in elementary school, my father taught me to make a small house out of wood carvings. At that time, this work ranked first in our grade. For the first time, I realized that wood carving can also be recognized by others, and at that time I developed a relatively strong interest in wood." Chen Jia said.

  Learning woodcarving starts with the most basic knife sharpening practice, and Chen Jia's hand will be scratched if he is not careful.

As a female craftsman, she also spends more time exercising her hand strength. For her, the most difficult part is to carve the rough embryo, that is, first chisel out the inner and outer outlines of a piece of wood, From the outside to the inside, the layers go deep, which often requires a lot of effort.

Due to the long pressing of the carving knife, Chen Jia's right ring finger has been significantly deformed.

The picture shows the "Lobster and Crab Basket" made by Chen Jia with a length of about 10 cm. Photo by Chen Chuhong

  "I wanted to give up many times in the process of studying, because I was injured all the time and it was very hard. My dad also felt distressed when he saw it, and advised me to find a stable job. But when I spent a few months making the first piece When the work is sold, I still have a great sense of achievement. Since the pain is all over, and I have learned it, I have to persevere." Chen Jia said.

  Chaozhou woodcarving is characterized by multi-level hollowing out. When doing it, not only do you have to imagine what the next layer will do, but also consider the inner layer of the woodcarving to achieve the effect of interlocking layers.

Usually to complete a woodcarving work, it takes more than 30 carving knives and wooden hammers of different sizes, and sometimes chalk and pencil are needed to make some marks.

The picture shows Chen Chuhong's woodcarving work "Returning with a Fruitful Achievement" made by Chen Jia

  "The things in the basket in the work "Lobster and Crab Basket" are the most difficult to carve, because there is a basket outside, which is more difficult to play, and it is very confusing." Chen Jia introduced that the most important thing in learning wood carving is hard work and a certain amount of patience. to do it.

  In order to make his works look lifelike, Chen Jia usually pays more attention to the details of life.

For example, when eating shrimp and crabs, she will observe the curvature and lines of their heads while eating, and often take the shrimp and crab shells home for research after eating.

  "The movements of the shrimp and crabs in each work of "Lobster and Crab Basket" are different. The lobster feet and the claws of the crab can best show their shapes. I will pay more attention to these two places when I make wood carvings. I usually go to the university. I will also observe which foot moves forward when the lobster is walking." Chen Jia said.

The picture shows Chen Jia and his father Chen Peixi making a large-scale woodcarving work "Lobster and Crab Basket" Photo by Chen Chuhong

Make small woodcarving works, let woodcarving approach young people

  In the past, Chaozhou woodcarving was mainly used to decorate buildings, furniture and sacrificial utensils.

Due to the change of modern living environment and the weakening of traditional folk customs, the use of Chaozhou woodcarving is decreasing day by day.

In order to bring woodcarving closer to young people, Chen Jia has made innovations in themes, shapes and uses.

  In Chen Jia's studio, a palm-sized "Lobster and Crab Basket" looks extraordinarily ingenious. The shrimp and crab basket is carved into a transparent and thin shape, in sharp contrast with the surrounding woodcarving works that are several meters long.

In Chen Jia's opinion, the smaller the woodcarving work, the more difficult it is, because it is difficult to control the strength in the hand, and it is not easy to use a knife.

"Like this small "lobster and crab basket", I use sandalwood, its hardness is different from the camphor wood we usually use, it is more brittle, and the strength is not easy to grasp. Especially when making hollow inside , it is very difficult.”

The picture shows Chen Jia carving lobster feet with a carving knife. Photo by Chen Chuhong

  Although making small woodcarving works is often injured, this does not affect Chen Jia's creative enthusiasm.

Take "Return with a Load", which is only 30 cm in length. Its base is a bamboo raft made of wood. A shrimp and crab basket is placed on the bamboo raft. There are some large and small shrimp and crabs around and outside the basket. A branch is connected, and the whole work varies in shades of color.

  "The inspiration for this piece came from my dad, who made a larger size of "Homecoming". I wanted to make it a size and price that more people could accept, so I made a smaller one The work of the original." Chen Jia introduced that the color of a piece of wood is rarely the same, and now the wood carvings have retained the original wood color, which can better see its craftsmanship and sense of hierarchy.

The picture shows the little tiger ornament made of wood by Chen Jia, photographed by Chen Chuhong

  In terms of themes and uses, Chen Jia has also expanded a lot.

For example, she carved some exquisite combs out of wood, as well as some small ornaments such as tigers and teapots, and she also carved her mobile phone pendant "Little Gourd" by herself.

In the intangible cultural heritage market on Guangji Bridge, tourists who come and go see these small wooden ornaments and come to ask about the price from time to time. Some tourists will buy some back as souvenirs.

  "Nowadays, Chaozhou woodcarvings are generally decorations, not necessities of life. I think that in order for more people to understand and use these things, they must be developed into necessities, which will take a very long time." Chen Jia Say.