Sunday, 12/02/2023 10:01

Making Hà Nội's beautiful moss art

By Lê Hương

Green moss can bring a tranquil relaxed feeling, and moss grown indoors can turn what is a simple plant into beautiful eye-catching artworks for interior decoration.

Hoàng Tuấn Anh, a young Hanoian man, is the artist behind such stunning natural artworks.

“My passion for moss art started in the COVID pandemic lockdown as I could not go to work in my hotel,” he told Việt Nam News.

“I stayed at home all day and searched for some hobbies on the internet. I especially like growing bonsai and other ornamental plants. After a year of trying my hand at bonsai, I turned to moss art, in which natural moss is used as the main material to make artworks.”

At present he is working with two kinds of moss art: Live moss terrarium and preserved moss wall.

The first one is moss grown in a glass terrarium. This kind of floral art is fairly popular in the world.

MINIATURE ECOSYSTEM: Moss and other small plants can live long inside a closed glass box. VNS Photos Lê Hương

Moss and other small plants can be kept inside the containers. Living moss prefers a humid environment, which can create a special closed ecosystem that requires little maintenance. The moss and plants inside closed terrariums can provide CO2 from the humidity.

“We just need to water them once or twice a month, which is much less than a bonsai requires,” he said.

The second is preserved moss wall, which is quite new in Việt Nam.

“Natural moss is cleansed and treated to reach a ‘preserved status’ so that it stops its ageing process and no maintenance is required,” he said. “It will retain its beauty, form and colours over time without being decayed. We virtually don’t have to water or care for them. The preserved moss art can last for a very long time.”

Anh displays many live moss terrariums and moss wall frames in his shop for sale.

GREEN MURAL: Hoàng Tuấn Anh works on a big preserved moss wall painting. VNS Photos Lê Hương

Picky customers can order a moss art work to their liking, which takes 7-10 days to complete.

 Anh uses special materials available throughout the country.

“Different species of moss growing in different areas have different colours and appearances,” he said. “With some special ones, I have to import from wholesalers overseas.”

Preserved moss

He said that to create high-quality preserved moss layers, it took him about 2 years to find out the best way.

“When I succeeded, I could create more artworks from preserved moss,” he said.

The process involves three steps. The first is removing soil or living creatures from the fresh moss. Then chemicals are used, and the moss is treated to reach a ‘hibernation status’.

PRESERVATION: Moss will get treated before reaching 'hibernation status.' VNS Photos Lê Hương

“The most challenging step is drying the moss, which takes 5-7 days in dry and sunny weather,” he said. “If it’s humid or the moss is not dried properly, we will not have good quality preserved moss wall paintings.”

Anh said he took the inspiration from natural landscapes for the themes of his moss art.

“After a picnic, I might want to reflect on the beautiful scenery I had seen,” he said. “I use the art of cubes. Paintings of moss are not simply flat paintings. There are curves, high peaks and low points so that when looking at the painting, people can see the contrast of colours, which stimulate the audience’s vision. From a different angle, the audience can see an artful view.”

People who like to grow moss are quite spontaneous like him, Anh claimed.

“One of the main reasons for me to open a shop of moss art is that I want to share my passion with many more people, who can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature during their busy life,” he said.

He has also hosted a number of workshops to guide people on how to make artworks from moss.

NATURAL FEEL: A mirror is decorated with preserved moss. VNS Photos Lê Hương

Anh aims to be part of a trend of people enjoying moss art.

“After a working day or even while working, people can relax with a beautiful moss creation,” he said.

In longer term, he wants to apply moss art more in interior decoration and even make influential artworks in public places.

Customer Phạm Thanh Sơn likes nature and landscapes. “I’ll buy a moss art terrarium to display at home and another in my office,” he said.

Vũ Minh Hương, another customer, said that she was seeking some decorative objects to display at her hairdressing salon.

“I like the mirror with preserved moss around,” she said. “It will help soften my shop space, which has too much equipment and furniture.”

Anh said a preserved moss art creation could last up to dozens of years. His shop offers a guarantee for one year for preserved moss paintings, and after that customers can only pay a small sum for maintenance service.

“For me moss art is a real treasure, which needs much time to explore. Besides creating new artworks, I want to form a community of professional moss growers in Việt Nam,” he said. VNS

BROWSING: Customers flock to his shop to see and buy moss artworks. VNS Photos Lê Hương

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