To showcase how traditional crafts — and by extent the lives of their makers — are shaped by the ebb and flow of the seasons, the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute will host "From Nature to Function: Exhibition of Folk Crafts and Four Seasons" at its Nantou headquarters from June 5 through Nov. 3.
Crafts are objects created by the rhythmic interaction between nature and people. Exhibition-goers are often more interested in the process of how such crafts are made, neglecting the life cycle of the materials themselves as well as the overall natural environment of Taiwan. Yet generations have been living in accordance with the seasons and making good use of cyclical resources.
"Following Heavenly Laws," "Down to Earth," and "Seasonal Crafts for the People in Taiwan" are the three main topics of this exhibition to portray the roles that crafts have played in traditional society. Affected by nature and inspired by this land, participating artisans through their mastery of the nature of raw materials have also revealed their unique aesthetics.
The "Following Heavenly Laws" section outlines how a unique geographical location has endowed Taiwan with its own climate and environment, which in turn have shaped the rhythm of life of its people. From crop farming in spring to autumn harvest, the procurement of raw crafting materials also follows the rules of the four seasons.
The "Down to Earth" section describes how volcanic and plate movements have created a mountainous landform and drastic altitude difference for Taiwan. Coupled with the effects of monsoon showers, the residents of this island have learned how to live in harmony with nature and appreciate her wisdom, from which they have developed a variety of craft industries.
The "Seasonal Crafts for the People in Taiwan" section delineates the hopes held by contemporary artisans, who desire to incorporate their material knowledge and personal philosophy with their art. Even when employing modern technology, they remain in tune with nature as they create new works imbued with ancestral wisdom.
‘From Nature to Function: Exhibition of Folk Crafts and Four Seasons’