Ricefield Arts joined the first Glasgow Canal Festival on Saturday 22 July. We had a great day teaching visitors how to make their own origami boats, as well as hosting our second Chinese Craft Fair. Team Ricefield even made an appearance on the water, as part of the Dragon Boat racing.
Ricefield volunteer Ulyana wrote about her experience as part of the Dragon Boat race team:
‘On July 22nd, thanks to Ricefield Arts and Glasgow Canal Festival, I got to try Dragon Boat Racing for the first time, and take part in a competition. It was great to challenge myself again, to fight my fears and have some fun. And, of course, to get involved in the competitive atmosphere.
I am very glad to have met new people, and to communicate and work in a team. Because this was a new experience for most of us, the event was even more special and fun. I really enjoyed taking part and have made even more memories from my time in Glasgow. I would recommend the sport to anyone.’
Find out more about what’s happening at Glasgow’s canal here.
Glasgow Mela 2017
Last week Ricefield Arts and Culture Centre took part in Glasgow Mela Festival, one of our biggest events of the year, and once again it was a great success! Chinese arts and culture could be found throughout Kelvingrove Park; from the Kids Zone and our merchandise and historical clothing stall, to the Band Stand where the audience enjoyed a traditional Mongolian dance performance. Visitors walking through the festival could also witness a Lion Dance performed by Yee’s Hung Ga Edinburgh Kung Fu, and street theatre in collaboration with Surge performed by our brave volunteers. Even the rain couldn’t dampen our high spirits.
The Kids Zone was filled with different art and craft stations. Children showed off their creative skills in making lanterns, flowers, and fans out of card and paper. Many took part in our colouring competition and with so many great entries, our judges had a hard time choosing a winner! In the end, we were pleased to announce Zainab as the winner of a free art workshop. Our wish tree was also filled with imaginative aspirations.
Visitors to the festival enjoyed an intriguing street theatre performance of Overseasoned with our confused ‘chefs’ shuffling through the crowds and getting up to mischief. The performance brought more cheerfulness to the festival with many stopping to watch, laugh and take photos, though some poor spectators did have a couple of chips taken by the hungry chefs. The Lion Dance also offered a more traditional Chinese show, and children had the chance to try out playing the drums.
Over at the Band Stand, the audience were treated to an amazing traditional Mongolian dance presentation by dancers from the Glasgow Oriental Dancing Association. Some members of the audience may have been unfamiliar with this style of dance but the girls achieved a great applause. The beautiful dance and colourful outfits were a definite joy to watch.
Down at our merchandise stall, visitors had the chance to try out calligraphy and wear traditional Chinese clothing! Many were also interested in the Chinese opera masks, lanterns, kites and hanging charms. The coveted red envelope raffle prize went to Evelyn, who received a bag full of Chinese treats. Congratulations! Thanks to all our volunteers and everyone who joined us at Glasgow Mela Festival 2017. It was a great success and we hope to see you at our upcoming events!
This blog was written by Ricefield Arts volunteer, Jenna Lau.
This video was produced by Ricefield Arts volunteer, Jiawei Song.
For more Glasgow Mela 2017 photos head over to our Facebook page.
Mela On Your Doorstep 2017
Ricefield Arts was delighted to take part in this year’s Mela on Your Doorstep events, this year in Sighthill on 13 May, and Netherton on 14 May. We will be at the main event, Glasgow Mela on 2 July in Kelvingrove with a range of craft activities for all the family, performances and a stall with Chinese produce. Find out more about Glasgow Mela here.
While you’re waiting, take a look at the fun we had in Sighthill and Netherton.
Volunteer Appreciation Spring 2017
Throughout the year Ricefield Arts holds events to say thank you to our amazing team of volunteers. Here is a selection from our April 2017 celebration at Committee Room No.9.
Earth Hour 2017 Event
Chinese New Year 2017 Celebrations at Kelvin Hall and Kelvingrove Museum
Celebrating Chinese New Year is always a highlight in Ricefield’s busy calendar, and this year was certainly no exception. We worked with Kelvin Hall and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to plan a fun afternoon with drop-in craft workshops for families, and a showcase of various interactive traditional Chinese indoor and outdoor games for the local communities.
The event on Sunday 5th February was also a personal highlight for me, as this was the first time I’ve been able to volunteer with Ricefield and the amazing team during the Spring Festival period. I turned up excited to learn more!
Our team of over 20 volunteers and I started setting up at 10am, getting Kelvin Hall’s sports hall fit for a party. Lanterns were hung, and the red tablecloths were out. The fortune cookies were waiting and the music was on. At 12pm we were ready to go.
I worked at the Welcome Table (lacking any sort of sporting skill) and visitors had a serious challenge facing them when they arrived. Ricky the Rooster was looking for his 11 zodiac animal friends, and you could collect them by trying each of the activities on offer. Families were sent off with their sticker sheets on a mission!
First stop was the Wishing Tree, to collect the snake. Traditionally wishes and hopes for the new year are written and tied on to the tree, and the higher it is hung the more likely it is to come true. We had some lovely messages wishing for health and happiness, several lego and Rapunzel set requests, and my favourite for ‘a whole year of pizza’.
My personal favourite activity in Kelvin Hall was Catching Seven Pieces (抓石子). Else, Ricefield’s Chair, remembered playing this traditional game as a child with a collection of pebbles, and she was definitely the expert. We played this time around small pouches of rice, and players used their strategy and dexterity to juggle and try to catch all seven. I was pretty awful, but I’ll be practicing for next year!
Also on offer was a Chopsticks Challenge, where visitors tested their kuaizi skills against increasingly small and fiddly objects. Maybe we’ll stick to noodles in the future. On the next table over you could try Tangram (七巧板). This game was invented in China during the Song Dynasty, and has grown in popularity in Europe after first being brought here by trading ships in the 19th century. Players try to rearrange flat shapes to create new images and patterns. Simple to understand, but hard to master. There was also a Memory Game with the famous red envelopes given as presents at Chinese New Year. The colour red is a symbol of good luck, and the gift is given to ward off evil spirits. Players tried to match the red envelopes into pairs, in a special new year version of the game often played here with cards.
Classic Chinese board games such as Chinese Chequers (中国跳棋) and The Game of Go (围棋) were in full swing, and some of our volunteers were outsmarted by some very well-practiced children. I learned more about Go, and was particularly impressed that is the oldest board game still being played today, having been invented in China approximately 2,500 years ago. In ancient times it was considered one of the four essential arts of aristocratic society. We’re very sophisticated here at Ricefield!
Our more athletic visitors played a Shuttlecock Game (踢毽子) and Ping Pong (乒乓球), joined by two trainees from Kelvin Hall. There was also Bamboo Dancing (竹竿舞), accompanied by the sound of drums. This dance requires some skill, as dancers follow and step along with the rhythmic movement of the bamboo poles. This dance is popular with the Chinese Li minority ethic group, where the dancing can last late into the night on special occasions. It seemed that our visitors were no strangers to the dance floor.
Over the road in Kelvingrove Museum the celebrations continued. Families had a chance to try some New Year-themed crafts, including decorating a lion head with Ricefield co-founder Lin and making dragon puppets to take home. Both creatures are very important symbols, with Chinese guardian lions (狮) having strong protective powers, and the dragon representing power, strength and good fortune. All very important components for a successful year!
After this journey, visitors returned to the wishing tree, to unite Ricky with his zodiac animal friends and be rewarded with a fortune cookie for all their hard work. It was great to see everyone’s enthusiasm and to hear how much they’d enjoyed all the new experiences. I bet we have some Game of Go fans playing on their mobile phone now!
This event marks almost one year of my volunteering with Ricefield, and it made for a great anniversary. Bringing together the whole team of volunteers, ranging from students from China and beyond studying in Glasgow, to Glaswegians looking to learn some more about Chinese culture, was a great display of Ricefield’s diversity. I’ve learned so much over this past year (my origami skills have never been better!), and met some interesting people. Its the mixed talents of this team that made this Chinese New Year event such a success and made the long day of work very worthwhile.
What a way to start my own zodiac year. 新年快乐！
This post was written by Ricefield volunteer Laura Matheson.
To see more images from our 2017 Chinese New Year event, please visit our Facebook page.
Watch the video below for a taste of our Chinese New Year event. Video produced by Ricefield volunteer, Jarvis Gray.