13/04/2016 15:10 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Thanh Thuc’s Fabric Paintings

After more than 30 years of creating fabric paintings, artist Tran Thanh Thuc recently held her first private  exhibition - “Spring Rhythm”. The exhibition has brought about a lot of surprises to the fine arts circle as it features a very unique painting style.
Talking about her affinity to this kind of painting, artist Thanh Thuc said when she was small, she often cut her mother’s fabric scraps into different shapes as a hobby. After growing up and being taught about fine arts, Thanh Thuc started to cut and assemble cloth to form unique pictures with inspiration taken from wood-carving pictures she often spotted on Hanoi’s streets.

At the age of 20, artist Thanh Thuc finished her first fabric painting and her father, also a painter, found the picture beautiful and inspiring. Since then, she has gotten a lot of support and encouragement from her family.

In the past, fabric was extremely scarce so Thanh Thuc’s father and siblings often collected strange pieces of fabric they found for her. Their love and support was the firs encouragement for her to pursue this style of fabric painting, she said.

Cutting and selecting cloths for fabric paintings.

Cutting the needed details from a piece of cloth.

Sprinkling granulated fabric on the painting.

Attaching fabric pieces.

The love, passion and zeal in combination with studiousness help Tran Thanh Thuc nurture her art and as stated by Associate Prof./People’s Artist Le Anh Van during the opening ceremony of the exhibition,  she leaves no unwanted or carelessly done detail.

Artist Thanh Thuc said such large-sized fabric paintings are very rare in the world. Usually there are small-sized fabric paintings used as a notebook’s cover or souvenir. She is the first one to use fabric to create scenic paintings.

Thanh Thuc said that using fabric in painting has both strengths and weaknesses. As each piece of cloth is partly produced by a painter, it already possesses artistic values in the patterns and colours. Sometimes a painting cannot depict a detail that well. Therefore, Thanh Thuc often tries to make use of the diverse fabric she has.

However, it also has disadvantages. Finding the needed details or colours is really hard and time-consuming. Thanh Thuc said that at times she had to spend half a day just to find the satisfactory patterns or colours or to buy lots of cloth just to complete a detail of the same size as a hand. Sometimes, she cannot find the required details anywhere but on her own clothes and has to cut them out to complete the paintings. Thanh Thuc also told about an occasion when she had to check out 200 pieces of cloth to find her desired detail which was as large as two fingers.

Exploring Thanh Thuc’s store of material, we were surprised that among hundreds of fabric pieces she has collected, not a single one is kept intact. Each has lost one or a few pieces, such as the image of a flower, smoke, a house and a tree or a forest.

Some works of artist Tran Thanh Thuc


This is the reason why her 50 fabric paintings created after more than 30 years of working is highly appreciated by the fine arts circle and is regarded as the most rewarding fruits for her serious, committed and devoted artistic work.

Even more special is the fact that fabric paintings by Thanh Thuc have their humanity and traditional values. Through these works, she wants to showcase the beauty of the country as well as to encourage people to love and preserve traditional values of the past in their souls.

Story: Thao Vy – Photos: Tat Son