Indigenous Motif Library

Each Kam village has its unique customs, stories, songs and designs that differentiate it from other places. The older generation can easily identify which village a person comes from by their attire, for example. This is not true for the younger generation. They are very much influenced by the mainstream Chinese culture broadcasted on TV.

Artisans have given us access to their family embroideries and demonstrated how paper templates are created. We catalogued them and students have converted them to digital graphics that can be used on a wide variety of applications. A simple and inexpensive screen-printing process can then be used to apply these motifs to various artifacts.

Wu Mengxi, one of few living artisans who can make embroidery templates drew and cut a beatiful flower motif used in emroidering women's coats. Our team converted it to vector graphics and made a screen from it. The design has come full circle with Wu Mengxi screen printing the motif onto a fabric. She will use the motifs to develop products to be sold locally, in China and abroad.




Artisan Wu Mengxi made a flower motif template in 2010. In 2014 she reviewed and edited the digital motif library that Lee, her students and volunteers created based on motifs Lee collected throughout her research trips. She then screen prints the flower motif that she drew years ago on fabric.

Lee and Dimen artisans (including Mengxi) are using Mengxi's motifs among others that the team assembled in developing products that are sold locally and abroad to improve the living conditions in Dimen.