Reeds, after being handcrafted through a dozen processes, including reed casting, peeling, reed rolling, strip knitting, and edge trimming, are transformed into eco-friendly, elegant and functional craft items, such as flower baskets, storage boxes and woven bags.
Xu Zunxia, an inheritor of the cultural heritage of reed craft, was recently leading a crew of skilled craftspeople at a reed product factory in Guangrao County, Dongying City, Shandong Province. They were working on a shipment of storage baskets for export to Africa. “The 20,000 items are worth a total of RMB600,000, representing a profit of about RMB150,000, after the costs for materials, manpower and extras are accounted for,” said Xu.
Thanks to abundant reed resources, the town of Damatou in Guangrao County has, since ancient times, been a hub for the making of reed mats and other reed products. The reed industry is an important source of income for the local people. To aid and encourage the industrialization of reed products, last year the local government garnered opinions on the development and protection of reed products, according to the Information Office of Guangrao County People’s Government. Since then, they have been working with the Shandong Light Industry Association to promote the restructuring and expansion of the industry from the production of conventional reed mats to encompass daily necessities and reed handicrafts. They are also focusing on the development of markets, both locally and overseas. To date, there are almost 100 categories of reed products, and nearly 1,000 specialist craft workers making reed products, with 1.2 million pieces manufactured annually. The products are exported to more than 20 countries and regions across Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.
Source: Information Office of Guangrao County People’s Government