(中央社訊息服務20160429 17:42:16)Lilian van Stekelenburg and Gerard Jasperse, designers from the Netherlands, are currently visiting Tainan, Taiwan, to explore the beauty of traditional Taiwanese crafts such as woodcarving, embroidery, joss paper making.
“I came to Tainan because a lot of traditional crafts are getting lost, because of globalization, people are no longer interested, younger generations don’t want to learn the crafts anymore,” said Lilian adding, “As a designer I want to design new products made with traditional crafts, to keep those precious crafts alive.”
Gerard said, “Crafts can use more attention not only in Taiwan but also in Holland. Tainan has many crafts with possibilities and this is a very good environment for a designer to work in. It's a making city I would say.”
In Gerard’s work, the Dutch trading company is a key subject. He said, “Formosa is an important chapter and this is my first visit to a former Dutch colony.”
Working with Culture and Creativity Incubation and R&D Center (CCIRDC) at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), both of them had talked to a lot of local people and visited a lot of traditional craft shops and factories in the last few weeks.
“Most of the crafts in Tainan are related to religion: woodcarving, embroidery, Joss paper,” Lilian noted, “so I started asking people about their religion, traditions, and temple rituals.”
“I found out that a large part of the younger generation wasn’t really interested in these traditions anymore. They go to the temple because their parents make them, or only do the minor things, burn some joss paper once in a while but lack the interest and knowledge behind these rituals,” according to Lilian.
Now she is working on the goddess of sustainability. “This will make people aware of all the environmental issues Taiwan is facing today,” she said.
She continued, “Because my goddess is more appealing to the younger generation, they will get more interested in the traditions of worshiping again.”
Lilian and Gerard taught a small class of NCKU students about crafts and design. “One of the students suggested to give the goddess a Facebook page, to make her more appealing to the younger generation,” Lilian said with a big smile.
Gerard is tracing the Dutch footprints and stories in Tainan said, “I think history is fascinating and can give a lot of meaning to nowadays life. I try to document history with design and bring it to a bigger audience.”
He is working on traditional hand puppets and said, “There’s already many puppets about Zheng Chenggong and also about Dutch people but the Dutch people sometimes look like Asian people with yellow hair so I think this is one of the things I can change.”
Also, Gerard designed some modern toys. “I’m interested in how would actual figure of Zheng Chenggong look like, how actual figure of Dutch people look like from 17 century and how can we play them to say something about history,” he said.
CCIRDC organized an exhibition to display Lilian and Gerard’s work. The exhibition is scheduled on May 10 at Satellite 321.
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