3-D sewing

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Last week, Nguyen Thi Huu Hanh, 51, was granted a patent by the National Office of Intellectual property, crediting her with 3D embroidery in Vietnam.

"3D effects are not something new," said Hanh, from her studio in Da Lat. "Most of them are machine-generated; whereas our hand-embroidered 3D images require more patience, talent and effort."

The ambidextrous artisan was born and raised in the Central Highlands resort town. Thirty years ago, she began to study embroidery. Since then, she has twice received the "Golden hands" award"”a national title bestowed on the best traditional handmade products.

In 1989 she founded a cooperative and called it Huu Hanh. She began training disabled individuals, who would otherwise have a hard time earning a living, to stitch.

Last year, she held several workshops in France. Hanh typically spends four months of the year showcasing and promoting Vietnamese embroidery at international exhibitions.


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According to the artisan, the 3D technique or "puff embroidery" involves drafting a sketch, and then inlaying the image with 3-D cubes that give the image a raised look.

The last step is stuffing these "cubes" and decorating them with delicate stitching.

Each work is then stretched and hung in slender display cases.

Her first 3D attempt took her three months to perfect, she says. Now, they each take her around two weeks to complete. A non-3D work in the studio usually just takes 3-4 days.

Only 10 embroiders among the nearly 100 members of Hanh's cooperative are qualified and willing to learn the technique, she says.

The images, which mostly feature different kinds of flowers, fruit and landscapes, sell for US$50-700 each.

Hanh says that her new patent has sent her business soaring. She says she's already sold nearly 40 3-D pieces to French and Korean buyers.

"3D embroidery is just a trend, so, I am thinking about creating double-sided 3D images or even 4D pictures," she jokes.

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