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Preserver of Traditional Glass Craftsmanship | Lin Yao-nung

  • Date:2023-10-11
Lin Yao-nung

Chinese Name: 林瑤農

Born: 1963

Place of Birth: Hsinchu (Northern Taiwan)

Did You Know?

In 2021, craftsman Lin Yao-nung was recognized by the Hsinchu City Government as a preserver of the intangible cultural heritage of traditional glass craftsmanship.


Due to his mother’s work in a glass factory, glass had a great influence on Lin Yao-nung from a young age. He started working in a glass factory during high school and decided to learn glass sculpting at the age of fifteen. With his familiarity with glass and his artistic talent, Lin reached the level of master before his compulsory military service and became a subcontractor for European and American manufacturers, mass-producing glass products.

However, glass craftsmanship involves intricate procedures and requires a lot of time and effort to learn. With the rise of Taiwan’s economy and the relocation of industries, the glass industry is no longer as profitable as before, leading to a sharp decline in the number of people learning this craft. Lin Yao-nung said, “In the past, I didn’t share my techniques.” During the prosperous period of the glass industry, possessing the skills meant having a market. This atmosphere resulted in little exchange of knowledge or technique in the glass industry, directly accelerating its decline.

At the time, glass craftsmanship was both a field of expertise and a lifelong passion for Lin, so transitioning became his first choice. He gave up mass-produced products and started creating art pieces with glass sculpting. “At first, they were of different sizes, sticky, and the colors weren’t pleasing,” Lin Yao-nung says, describing his early art pieces. These works attracted a lot of criticism and disdain. However, he never lost confidence and continued to improve his glass craftsmanship.

Lin Yao-nung had traveled to Italy, a major player in glass craftsmanship, several times to learn and understand the differences between Taiwanese and Italian glass craftsmanship. “Glass is the same no matter where you are,” he says, but he also believes that the fusion of different cultures, ideas, and aesthetics is the main key to distinguishing glass craftsmanship. With this realization, Lin decided to no longer imitate foreign glass artworks but instead focused on experiencing local culture and creating Taiwanese glass craftsmanship.

Since 2006, Lin has continuously experimented and created different glass artworks. With accumulated experience and improved tools, he gained recognition in 2014, not only winning the Top 10 Souvenirs of Hsinchu City Award but also becoming the chairman of the 9th Windy City Art Glass Association in Hsinchu City. In 2020, he was selected as a part of the Taiwan Crafts Workshop, becoming a prominent figure in the glass craftsmanship industry.


After gaining insights into glass craftsmanship, Lin Yao-nung shifted his focus to passing on the craft and allowing more people to experience his beloved glass. However, due to the complexity of the techniques and the loss of glass craftsmen in Taiwan, there is a severe shortage of personnel in the field. Additionally, glass craftsmanship is a relatively niche industry in Taiwan with limited exposure, making the transmission of glass craftsmanship extremely challenging.


To overcome these difficulties, Lin opened courses in his own factory, allowing anyone to participate. As a result, he successfully recruited four apprentices, all of whom achieved excellent results in glass craftsmanship competitions. In 2020, he joined the Taiwan Crafts Workshop, greatly increasing the exposure of glass craftsmanship through the internet and allowing more people to see this art form. In addition, he also offers tourism and hands-on workshops, inviting the general public to observe the working process and even experience glassmaking.

To enhance his teaching and tourism experience, Lin Yao-nung is planning to improve the old glass factory by incorporating classrooms, exhibition spaces, and modern equipment. He hopes that by improving the environment, more people will be willing to learn glass craftsmanship. This has also led Lin to explore unfamiliar territory, such as curriculum development, attempting to transform the previously “intuitive” steps and techniques of glass craftsmanship into regulated processes, using books and even artificial intelligence as mediums. This aims to lower the entry barrier for glass craftsmanship and truly ensure its continuation.

Despite approaching retirement age, Lin continues to strive for glass craftsmanship and works tirelessly for its preservation. With his passion for glass art and unwavering determination to pass down the craftsmanship, Lin Yao-nung has showcased the almost extinct glass craftsmanship in a new light, allowing everyone to see the infinite possibilities of glass.