From tree bark to art


Cheng with some of the artworks at her workshop in Batu Arang, Selangor. — Photos: MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

Visual artist Chen Yen Pheng doesn’t have to go far to source for materials.

Her canvas is often made out of mulberry trees, which she has planted in her garden at Batu Arang, Selangor.

The inner bark of the tree, which is rich in fibrous material, produces high-quality paper.

Cheng has been turning the tree bark into paper in the last seven years.

She has to go through a long and painstaking process to produce the paper.

It involves boiling the bark and pounding it until the texture is soft before making it into a thin layer of paper which is dried under the sun.

Cheng, who is interested in traditional art, produces different types of works with interesting shapes.

“Even taking care of the tree is quite complicated.

“But I always try to ensure that the results are worth it,” she said.

Cheng also transforms some of the paper into items like lanterns and model planes.


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