Craftsmen put their hearts to Shoujiang silverware shop
Editor’s note: Cun Songtao is good at making silverwares and modern aesthetics, while Liang Fan does well in marketing and branding. In 2017, they jointly opened the Shoujiang silverware shop in Kunming. Their founding mission is to innovate the traditional silver craft and build a real brand for handmade silverwares.
In summer, the Cuihu (green lake) Park in Kunming presents tourists a good view of lotus flowers. At the Shoujiang silverware shop, Cun Songtao and Liang Fan sit peacefully at a tea table, surrounded by varied handmade silverwares. Since the store was opened in 2017, the two have been focusing on the silverware business, living a peaceful life at the lively park and enjoying their days in hammer beats.
Focusing on silverware-making
Cun Songtao comes from Heqing County, home to silverwares in western Yunnan’s Dali Prefecture. As his ancestors were silver smiths, he has been familiar with the music of hammer beats since childhood. Looking back, Cun Songtao can remember the vivid scenes of aiding his father, who is also a silverware craftsman. While the father was busy with others, Cun was carving patterns or fetching tools for his daddy.
After finishing senior high school, Cun Songtao went to college outside Yunnan, leaving the province where his ancestors lived for generations. Upon graduation, he found a job outside Yunnan but chose to go back later. He wanted to pass down his family crafts and tell his ancestral stories in his own way.
Liang Fan is a native to Gejiu City, south Yunnan’s Honghe Prefecture. Unlike Cun Songtao who was born into a silverware family, Liang traveled to many places, getting involved in many fields and gaining rich life experiences. Using his talent in marketing, Liang built up a silverware brand and he used to own as many as ten plus silver stores.
Thanks to his special experience, Liang Fan has developed a passion in handmade silverwares and a heartfelt respect to craftsmen who devoted themselves to silverware making. When he re-set his business career, Liang Fan chose to work with handmade silverwares without hesitation.
In 2017, Cun Songtao met Liang Fan, and the two like-minded people jointly founded the Shoujiang shop for hand-made silverwares. By Shoujiang, they mean keeping the skills and art of the craftsman. Cun Songtao is good at making silverwares and modern aesthetics, while Liang Fan does well in marketing and branding. So they complement each other well.
Silverwares are rich in varieties, and the silver pot is classic and practical. Among the silver pots, the Xianwen silver pot is the most famous. When making the snowflake-like patterns on the Xianwen pot, even an experienced silver smith need to be careful. He has to be focused for every single hammer beat makes a difference. A slight error can destroy a whole art piece.
The Shoujiang shop is dedicated to fine craftsmanship in making the Xianwen silver pot. Cun Songtao said the numerous snowflake-like patterns on the Xianwen pot have different sizes and varieties. Each pattern calls for particular tools, and each piece is shaped by tens of thousands of hammer beats. “Our shop sticks to preserving and innovating the silver craftsmanship,” added Cun.
Fusing tradition into modernity
In the Shoujiang silver shop, every piece is unique, presenting exquisite skills and aesthetic ideas. And this is a perfect fusion of the time-tested traditional craftsmanship into the aesthetic design that keeps pace with the times.
As the shop’s chief designer, Cun Songtao is committed to putting together traditional handicrafts and modern elements, so that each silver ware can be either an antique for collection or a necessity for daily use. Also, Cun decorated his silverwares with rattan, leather, copper, gold, wood, bamboo, tin and others, making them give off diverse senses of beauty.
“Besides silver pots, the Shoujiang shop also features bracelets, tea wares, and more. In the future, it will roll out more household items.” Liang Fan said that only in wide use can the wares gain popularity among the folks, adding the founding mission of the shop is to build a popular brand for handmade silverwares.
Now, Cun and Liang are slowing down the shop’s development for they are thinking more about how to enhance the products’ identity. By forming its own product system, the Shoujiang silver shop will be more promising.
By Zhang Lin and Meng Zhigang; trans-editing by Wang Shixue