"A Blessing" is a collaboration between traditional craftsman Master Lui Ming and contemporary artisan Inkgo Lam, showcasing the exquisite techniques of making bamboo steamers. Inspired by the spiritual icon and major tourist attraction of Hong Kong - the Big Buddha, "A Blessing" symbolizes peace and harmony between man and nature.
The work was designed by both Master Lui and Inkgo Lam, while Inkgo was responsible for sketching the design. Before the collaborative making process, Master Lui challenges Inkgo to climb up the Big Buddha and feel the spiritual presence to achieve perfection in making the piece. As an apprentice, Inkgo felt more blessed than stressed as Master Lui has high expectations of her, inspiring her to take each step of the making process seriously and meticulously. The road to mastering a craft is taken one step at a time, with no shortcut. This approach is a test of ability, sincerity and a path of self-discovery.
In addition to sharing the characteristics of different bamboo materials, Master Lui demonstrated various techniques for making bamboo steamers, including the use of bamboo clips, threading copper wire, bamboo rebounding, bamboo weaving, etc. The pair worked together to build the Buddha base from three different sizes of bamboo steamers, while Lam used a diverse range of bamboo to construct the stairs and railings. The Buddha's head, hands and feet were carved from bamboo roots using traditional root carving techniques. Then the Buddha was completed with the woven kasaya, made from thin strips delicately sliced out of Phyllostachys nigra, commonly known as Black Bamboo.
During the apprenticeship at the master's steamer workshop, Inkgo observed that Master Lui was very devoted to making bamboo steamers and enjoyed every part of the making process, neither for anyone nor for money. As the master said, he was born to make bamboo steamers. "What matters most is that I can still make steamers," he said. Inkgo considers herself the most fortunate when she became Lui's pupil so that she could acquire countless bamboo crafting skills from the veteran master.
This collaboration celebrates the development of Hong Kong's traditional bamboo craftsmanship, the master-and-apprentice relationship and Master Lui's lifelong devotion to bamboo steamers. Through the creative process between the two generations with exchanges of ideas and beliefs, Master Lui and Inkgo hope to perpetuate the passion and spirit of traditional bamboo craft.