If you've visited Vietnam you would have seen Lacquered Homewares all over the country. Available in a vast array of products from Wall Art to Jewellery Boxes to Trays, Chopsticks, Plates, Bowls and Sculptures, Lacquerware and the techniques used to make it are almost as synonymous to Vietnam as a bowl of Pho!
Nhu Y Lacquerware, a family-run business from the South of Vietnam since 1987, specialises in contemporary designed premium grade lacquer products, hand-made locally.
Natural beauty combined with high durability are the main characteristics of each piece of Vietnamese lacquerware from Nhu Y.
Vietnamese lacquer art is an extremely labour-intensive and time-consuming craft. Each piece of Vietnamese lacquerware usually goes through 13 stages. There are 3 kinds of lacquerware: Mother–of– Pearl, Eggshell, Painting or any of the combination of these three.
First of all, MDF (Medium-density fibreboard) is used as the raw material. The material is then filled with a layer of lacquer which gradually seeps through to a core of wood to protect against any insect damage. In between each layer of lacquer, the lacquer artist must wait until the lacquer dries and then rubs it in water with sand paper. The work will be repeated many times (up to 13 lacquer layers or more) until the lacquerware becomes totally smooth.
After that, the artist then applies painting, eggshell, mother of pearl or just colour for the decoration.
Finally, the lacquerware, after several rubs in water is smooth but not shiny. The artist then applies either charcoal or iron oxide by hand to polish the lacquerware. Polishing hardened lacquer with such materials & hand applied technique finally brings the lacquerware's surface to a high gloss. The lacquerware, after polishing has a mirror like gloss appearance. Each piece of Vietnamese lacquerware from Nhu Y Lacquerware in Saigon, bears all the hard work of Vietnamese lacquerware craftspeople.
We've been smitten with Lacquered Homewares since our first visit to Vietnam but have been particularly taken by NHU Y's collections; primarily because the family of creators and designers have brought Lacquered styles bang up to date. The lacquered decorative pieces in this collection have a modernity about them which stands out from the rest. Classics have been updated through brightly coloured hand painting and colour combinations. Every Piece is a one off hand painted unique thing of beauty.