Make: Zhen Xian Bau (needle thread pockets)
Cake: Chocolate Brownies
The second OBC happened on 19 April 2017. The invitations were little folded books that fitted into A7 envelopes. I have been keen to test what gets through the postal system and whilst three survived without incident, one ended up arriving in a ‘apologies we have tried to kill your post’ bag.
The lovely Muriel (heidihanddyes) took the lead and introduced the group to Zhen Xian Bau (needle thread pockets). These are a little known Chinese folk tradition that she had discovered through the books of Ruth Smith. She showed us some beautiful examples that she had made from her textiles and used to form a part of gifts she had given.
“It features making ingenious paper-folded containers for storing embroidery threads, packets of needles, paper patterns, often a precious family photograph and personal memorabilia. The reason for their little known history is partly due to the fact that ‘zhen xian bao’, as they are called in Mandarin Chinese, are utilitarian, made for use in the home, and being made of paper wear out with use.” Ruth Smith
Following on from the first OBC and the conversations about the secrecy and hidden messages, Muriel suggested the group try these. The lovely Steve had produced the instructions for after use (thank you Steve) and frenzy of folding and gluing began. The first two layers (we went for the 5 box book… the 15 one will be coming!) consisted of measuring and folding to make three collapsible boxes. One large base and two half-size one top. This went by without too much incident (although my basic ruler and mental maths left a bit to be desired). The top layer, with its twist and fold pockets caused much furrowing of brows and muttering as fingers and paper manipulation were not always playing the same game. It echoed the clockwise twist and fold of the OBC one ‘puzzle purse’ where suddenly, once you are almost ready to give up and eat more cake, it happens and you don’t know how you did it. The sense of achievement was palpable, well done all and thank you Muriel! I loved it so much I made a neater one soon after using scraps of end papers and white paper.