Sunday, March 11, 2012

Craft Taiwan! ♥

Taipei seems to be quite the crafter's playground.  Our first day in the city, we went straight to the weekend market at the Red House Theater in Ximending. Apart from my heart leaping in delight from seeing so many crafters and creative entrepreneurs in one area, I also took note of what I felt was pretty remarkable--I observed a very distinct pride for the handmade, and the process that produced the wares they were now selling.

Beside tables of handcrafted goodies, you'd find the artisan or the crafter, hunched over their work (if they weren't entertaining inquiries from visitors).  In certain shops I'd walk into, I'd also see a worktable, or the equipment they use in the same area as the finished products they were selling.

Busy leather crafters selling their wares and making new products.

The integrated work and selling space translated itself to me as pride in work and in the work process, as opposed to some businesses hiding away their messy operations in a backroom or factory somewhere.  Here, they were sharing their processes, messy or not (though most of them were very neat and organized).  Well, I suppose at a craft fair that could only make sense.  But seeing that pride in their work (or were they just cramming the production of more wares...? I'd rather believe the former!) made my heart jump up and click its heels.  Now if only we could get through the language barrier to ask more technical craft questions...

I got to meet some wonderful crafters there, and those with whom I could manageably converse with, even took the time out to demonstrate their craft.  I learned quite a bit!  I'll post about that later on.

I love the Red House Theater!  If I were prone to hyperventilation, I'd probably be gasping for air while walking through the Creative Boutique and the  Cradle of the Cultural Creative Dreamer (wow, that's a mouthful).

Above is a close up of the display outside Steven's Glass Wonderland (they give workshops!).  I loved their little glass knickknacks.

The above photos are at a handmade soap store.  The lady explained that she and her husband run the business.  They make soaps out of select natural ingredients.  I really liked how you could handle their merchandise and freely ask about things.

I forget this wonderful lady's name from the Middle Handmade Studio, but we tried to converse on the technique she uses to make these beautiful flowers (and well, failed at it so I just took photos instead).  Gosh, I don't even know what you call this kind of technique/process.  I could only gush.  I tried visiting the blog address on the card she handed me, and could find snippets of photos of her work (among a lot of graphics).  If you wanna check it out, go here.  But I think it would be best to scope their studio's FB page.  I returned to their shop a few days later.  There's a whole other story there too.  :-)

I ended the craft-scoping day with a happy purchase from the artists' market at the North Square.  Thinking that I could always return to the shops at the Creative Boutique and at the Cradle of the Cultural Creative Dreamer, I spent quite sometime browsing through the stalls at the market, and chanced upon Sue Duan Design.  It was her husband I started talking to, and he proudly shared that his wife designs and creates the whimsical jewelry they sell, while he searches for materials for her.  They were too cute a couple, and I found myself quite smitten with the wing earrings I was clutching (and never let go of).

Yay, handmade.  It's quite the happy thing seeing a semblance of threads of a kinship of sorts among  crafters anywhere you might be.


  1. enjoyable read... i know where to head if ever i pop by taiwan in the future ;)

    1. Thanks Mae! I think you'd love it there! :-). There are also small studios that give short-term workshops on different disciplines. I'd love to go back and take some classes.

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  2. you can easily make the wing earrings. its just wire looping. I can't teach you, I am not an expert on that area. I did try it before with swarovski.