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China Trip




In 2005 Betty Finch and Jill Walker attended the International Gourd Cultural Exchange in the city or Huludao, located in the Liaoning Province of China.  The opening Ceremony included hours of singing, dancing and pageantry.   The representatives from visiting nations were given the best seats for the festivities.  The ribbon cutting ceremony was first.  Women in long red dresses held a bolt of red silk draped from one to the next for dignitaries from the attending countries to cut.  Betty was given the honor of making the last cut,  kicking off the ceremony with a release of colorful helium balloons and a shower of confetti.

Betty making the cut that kicked off the festivities.

The entertainment included this spectacular dragon dance

 with many large drums.. 

At the close of the ceremony Betty and the Korean delegate were brought on stage.  A gourd belt was tied around Betty and the Korean was given a wand, then they were asked to dance together.  Confetti shot into the air and a flock of white doves were released to symbolize how a common interest in gourds could bring diverse nations together.

Betty and the Korean delegate dance in the opening ceremonies.

Betty and the Korean pose for pictures for the media after the dance.

Betty speaking at the forum through an interpreter.

Betty and Jill Walker were presented with flowers and plaques

for speaking in the International Forum on Gourds.

After attending the 3-day gourd festival in Huludao, Betty and Jill traveled to Mr. Zhang Cairiís gourd farm outside of Tianjin where they were given a garden tour.  A group of gourd artists had gathered to demonstrate mold making, jade knife pressing, soapstone carving, and wood burning.


Mr. Zhang Cairi showing Betty his molded gourd garden.

Mr. Zhang Cairiís son-in-law demonstrates the seamless

 gourd mold making technique.


Betty and Mr. Zhang Cairi watch as workers carefully chip

 a gourd from a plaster mold.

Jill, Betty, and Mr. Zhang Cairi watch as a skilled worker wood burns

a molded gourd using only one arm.

Mr. Zhang Cairi presenting Betty with a molded Katydid cage as a gift.

As a result of this trip, Betty decided to write a book about Mr. Zhang Cairi and his molded gourds.  Upon returning to California Betty attended the Folsom Gourd Festival where she purchased one of Mr. Zhang Cairiís molded gourds from Guojun Zhang.  They discovered their mutual admiration for Mr. Zhang Cairi and decided to co-author a book about his molded gourds. Guojun returned to  China and conducted further research for the book and  sent photographs and information over the Internet to Betty who put everything together on her computer. One year later their book, ďThe Immortal Molded Gourds of Mr. Zhang CairiĒ became a reality.
The Minister of Culture got news of the book and invited them to tour a Dai village in the Yunnan Provence hoping they would consider writing a book about the unique Hulu-se (gourd flutes) of the Dai people.
In 2006 Betty and Jill Walker made a second trip to China .  That story later...÷
Those of you interested in Mr. Zhang Cairi's Chinese Molded Gourd Art,
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