2.6-meter-long reed straw sandals, reed fishing boats, storage hampers... In a tourist service center of Huantai County, Shandong Province, exquisite pieces of reed straw plaiting handicrafts and straw arts and crafts won high praise sound from tourists for who came here to play and felt very like that, "I did not even think of the humble reed being plaited to so many, so good-looking crafts", tourist Wang said with emotion.
"We are relying on the rich resources of reed materials round the lake areas. According to local conditions, a couple of tourist products featured by reed straw arts have been developed, to be plaited to high-quality reeds, reed straw woven screens and blinds, storage baskets and boxes, sandals and other beautiful and useful natural reed crafts, which helped win the majority of tourists." According to a person in charge of the center, the center also adopted and organized the innovation competition and other activities to further expand the visibility of reed supplies and lead the development of reed handicrafts, reed craft paintings and other tourism products.
2.6-meter-long reed straw sandals
It is understood that reed straw arts have enjoyed an period of over 150 year of history since Qing dynasty. Reed straw plait is derived from materials such as the lake rushes, reeds and other native plants. Straw plaiters produce products like: reed seat supplies, sieves, blinds, baskets, cages, screens, cooking, fishing gear and handbags, etc.. They're widely supposed to be strong and durable for which can also be plaited to lanterns, four screens, big screens, etc., which are nice enough. At the years of 50's to 60's of last century, reed weaving craft became at its peak so that almost every household was engaged in reed plaiting. Today, the reed straw supplies still are one of specialty products there, attracting more than half of the town housewives in the industry, of which all kinds of rush straw, reed straw series, straw and willow products are being exported to Korea, Japan, Thailand, the United States and other countries and regions.
Nowadays, winter's falling - a new fallow season is coming. Several peasant women are in full swing, who were seen rushing to plait reeds between fingers, up and down the flexible fingers were, dazzling ... "The reeds aren't much to look at but they're quite valuable in our hands to be fiddled with, and we turn them into crafts, also they're exported to many countries it!" According to Zhang Cuilan, she can make over 6 storage baskets from which about 60 yuan a day will be earned as processing fees . "Do not go out, but we earned more than ten thousand yuan a year quite easily!"
Willow straw baskets and crafts on display
"Older women in rural areas enabled themselves to earn extra money at home using straw reed and rushes straw, supporting home members and making money as well." An official of the town government told the author, in recent years, the town has more than 7,000 hand-weavers as rural women embarked on a rich way. According to statistics, small reeds produced about 80 million in revenue for farmers every year.
At the same time, some economic-minded people who spotted the opportunities in reed industry, in which it's believed to gradually become bigger and stronger.