Jane Ingram Allen
Made In Taiwan

April 3 - 15, 2005

Host Organization: Tainan National University of the Arts

Tainan National College of the Arts
66 Ta-chi, Kuan-tien,
Tainan 720, Taiwan
Contact person: Wen-Ying Huang, Assoc. Professor
Graduate Institute of Applied Arts, Fiber Division
Email: wynhuang@mail.tnca.edu.tw


Exhibit of Jane's workApartements on the canalWe have arrived in Tainan after a very fast ride on the express train from Taipei. We did some shopping at Tesco, a department store offering many things from clothes to groceries. One of the students from the University had picked us up at the train station and was kind enough to carry us around. The University is one hour from Tainan City so it is a bit outside the hussle and bussle of the city. It is definitely quieter with the exception of the birds, frogs and insects. The campus is not large, but it is very beautiful and lots of art going on.

On this first day we focused on unpacking our personal items and then went to the studio space at the Fiber Arts classrooms. We also hung the exhibition at the university gallery in an expansive space. It was fun to work in this space, and we had five of Wen-ying Huang's students to help. They hung the community works for the exhibition, and then five of Wen-ying Huang's students helped us with installing Jane's site maps.

We are staying in faculty housing that is very nice and comfortable.   The apartments are located on each side of a canal. We have a living room, bedroom and kitchen. We are looking forward to our stay here.

Peter's workshop areaPeter's gardenOn our first full day at the University we were taken to a number of very interesting places. Our first stop was at the community of San She to look at the paper making workshop area and garden full of mulberry trees and other interesting plants.  The mulberry trees here are used for feeding silkworms and for making mulberry wine and vinegar from the berries.  As the silk industry is no longer so strong in Tainan county, they are trying to find other uses for the mulberry trees and papermaking is one thing they are trying.  Mulberry tree bark is one of the best fibers for papermaking.  Jane will be teaching her community papermaking art workshop on Saturday and Sunday at this place.  It will be a very good location and a great place to make paper.

Peter explaning about the museumWe were then taken to the San She museum and exhibition site to see the exhibitions about silk making and the production of products. This museum had great exhibits on how silk was made and the endless products that are being produced. San She celebrates an annual silk festival, unfortunately, it is not going to be held this year because of the lack of funds. It turns out that Jane's workshop will be a major activity that will substitute for the silk festival. Jane was not aware of this until we attended the news conference held at a local restaurant. This followed our visit to museum.

Jane speaking at the news conferenceJane met the newly elected Chairman of the Agriculture Association. There were also many reporters there as well. Many of them were enjoying the mulberry wine. There seemed to be a number of informal drinking contests going on around us. Following the lunch we returned to the paper studio and Jane demonstrated paper making for some of the reporters using a single dip method. The paper makers here used a frame and deckle, but they kept the newly formed sheet of paper on the wire and used a drying table to get it dry quickly.   It will be interesting to see how Jane's method of paper making will be received by the participants in the workshop. After Drinking contestthe reporters left, we went out to the garden and selected plants that would be good for papermaking.    Our host at the papermaking workshop, Peter, had three different types of Mulberry trees and each appeared to make paper. We selected two. We also selected a tree that produces a fruit called "Buddha's head" as it is shaped like a head and has lots of bumps.

Once we picked these plants, we went to a goose farm where they are using goose eggs to decorate. Raising geese here is a big business. Jane painted a couple of eggs for them. One of them was a map of Taiwan, of course. We decided to stop at an area to see the Tainan County official bird and to see a nut that is grown exclusively in Tainan county. It is like a water chestnut and looks like upturned lips in a smile. Someone pointed out it looked like Tim's handlebar mustache.

Picking plantsOur second full day in Tainan was spent collecting additional plants for paper making. A group of students took us into the hills behind the university to collect plants. checking on the cooking of the plantsWe found a couple of suitable plants, one of which has a bright red flower that can be used for dyeing they told us. We also selected coconut palm leaves. The coconut tree was located on the property of one of the students. While there we had tea and snacks. She had a funny dog named Lulu who wore a basket over her head to prevent her from biting a sore on her leg.  After stopping there, we went to lunch and then back to the University to begin to cut up and cook the plants collected today and the day before.

Today we continued to work on making pulp from the plants we collected. We have 6 plants that we will use here in Tainan. There are many more, but we do not have the time to collect and process them all. We were able to cook all of the remaining plants, clean the fiber and then beat them. Unfortunately, our blender failed, and we had to use one that the school had available. 

News Conference in the ExhbitNews Conference in the StudioThis morning there was a new conference where many reporters came to Jane's exhibit and then to her studio area to watch her make paper. She talked to the reporters and many university students in the gallery about the various locations where she has been and how each area influences her work. She also explained how her site maps reflect the culture and people of each area and become a record of her experience of each place.   Many of the reporters and students asked interesting questions about the works and the concepts behind them. 

Leo making paperIn the afternoon Jane made paper from the plants of Tainan area and demonstrated her process for some of the students and visitors to the studio area.  One of the visitors was Leo, the three-year old son of visiting professor Catherine Liu, also a Fulbright Scholar.  Jane helped Leo make a sheet of paper, and he plans to come back tomorrow to try some more papermaking.  At the end of the day Jane had made samples of all the 6 plants and had begun to make paper that will be used in the Tainan Site Map.

Red Grass PaperToday Jan concentrated on making sheets of paper from the Tainan plants to use in making her site maps.  All of the plats made interesting paper.  We tried two more plants today that were brought in by some of the students.  One of them was rice straw, and rice is certainly plentiful in Tainan County.  Jane with black paperWe can see many green fields of young rice, and the rice straw is the left over from last year's crop.  We also used a reddish colored long bladed grass that was growing at the home of Shu Yen near the university.  The rice straw paper is interesting but the fiber is not so strong.  The red grass made a bright green colored paper with very fine fibers. 

We will have to wait until tomorrow when they are dry to see how both of these papers turn out.  Some students also came in late in the afternoon to help with beating the fibers and getting things prepared for the workshop tomorrow and Sunday.   Tomorrow begins the two-day public workshop in papermaking to be held in a nearby community known for silk production.


Jane lecturing and Wen_ling transilatingBoy making paperToday was the first day of a very successful workshop held in a community about 20 minutes from the Art University in Tainan County.  This community used to specialize in silk production but with the competition from China and Southeast Asia, it isnow producing mulberry wine and vinegar from the mulberry trees formerly used for silkworm feeding. The workshop began with Jane giving a talk and showing photos about the possibilities of making art with paperm.  She talked about how paper is made, how it has been used and some about her own art work using hand papermaking.. After that, the participants learned how to make paper using the Western method or single dip method. They enjoyed making paper and then stacking the sheets with felt in between on wooden blocks to press. The press was the participants standing on a table that was placed on top of the the stack of paper. They then took the individual sheets and brushed them on to various objects, including trees, plants, rocks and any other surface that they could fine.

Pressing paperpaper haning on the lineAfter lunch they learned about the plants that could make paper and then prepared three plants for cooking. The three were mulberry, a fruit called Buddha head and Japanese Silver Grass. Once prepared they were put into cooking pots with water and put on to boil and cook. The participants then returned to making paper after Jane showed them the modified Asian method. They made some excellent paper and hung them out to dry in the sun.

Tomorrow they will continue to make paper in the morning and then learn some mixed media techniques for making art with the dried handmade paper sheets in the afternoon.

group making paperbeating paperwashing pulpThe workshop was highly successful with many people enjoying learning about papermaking. There were also a number of very serious learners who diligently took notes. On the second day of the workshop, participants continued to make paper but also learned about preparing fibers from the three plants that were cooked the day before. They cleaned the fibers, cut them into shorter lengths and then beat them. Two of the bark fibers required blending, and this was done as well. They used these new fibers to make handmade paper.

lady blending pulpJust after lunch we took all of the remaining fibers and combined them into one mixture. We placed a large sheet of window screening outside on the grass ,and Jane showed the group the pouring method of making paper.   The group began to pour the Photographer making papercombined pulp onto the screening making a large collaborative handmade paper artwork. The participants then added flowers and other objects. One put their hand down and poured pulp around it. Another put the characters of the place onto the wet pulp.  Overall, it turned out to be a very interesting group project. When we went back later to move the piece from the grass to the sidewalk, we discovered that a child had walked onto the artwork and left his sneaker footprints. The footprints added a nice touch that was not planned for at the beginning.

For the rest of the afternoon, the participants took some of their dried handmade paper and combined them with other media to make unique handmade paper artworks. They used paint, acrylic gel, and other objects to create. One individual created a handmade paper cup by forming wet paper around a plastic pouring paper and putting objects onto itcup and then removing the plastic cup when the paper was dry.  Maybe he will make a small night light with this handmade paper cup shape.

workshop participantsPrior to ending the day, the individual who harvested the water plants that grow the nuts came by to see the paper that the plant made. Jane gave him a sheet of paper from the plant. He was quite pleased. We closed the day with a group photo of everyone. We will pick up the works made in the workshop to take it to the University to install after it is dried.

We had dinner at a very good restaurant and enjoyed a long discussion about art and culture with Wen-Ying and three of her students. We then went in search of a pineapple. We found an excellent one at a roadside stand.


area for site mapfirst layer being put downgardeners viewing site map workputting down second layer of paperThe process of paper making has now been completed, and Jane has begun to work on the Tainan Site maps. For one of the maps she and Tim made over 60 sheets of paper from the various plant fibers that had been discovered during the previous days. Once the sheets of paper were made they were taken to the center court yard of the school and placed on the concrete and rock surfaces in the shape of a Tainan County map. The surface created an intersting relief impression in the paper..

removing site mapJane working on site mapOnce the paper was  placed, string was put down to connect the sheets of paper. Jane also added flowers, leaves and other natural objects to the surface. Another layer of paper was put on top to hold everything together.  By the time we finished, it was so hot that it was necessary to keep spraying the paper to keep it from drying as we worked.  Once the piece was completed, it took a couple of hours to completely dry and then was taken up and brought into the studio area where Jane began to work on preparing and painting some of  the surface.


Chiayi group looking at Jane's outdoor studioLady selling mangosJane working on 2nd site mapMeg and friends at lunchWe had a very pleasant surprise yesterday when a group from Chiayi came to visit. Meg and Wendy brought with them other people that we had worked with while staying in Chiayi. They got a chance to look at Jane's work in the gallery and see the studio where she is currently working. We all then went to lunch at a very nice restaurant in the mountains of northeast Tainan County. We ate in a dining area built into large trees. It was very impressive and a great break from the University's restaurant food. On the way we spotted some mangos at a fruit stand, and the group purchased a lot to share. We also met an artist who is a calligrapher and is working on a two year project at the White River community. This community specializes in the white lotus. He returned with us to see Jane's exhibit and the paper that she made from lotus leaves.

After we returned, Jane continued to work on her two site maps. One depicts all of Tainan County, and the other focuses on the area around the university and the coral-shaped reservoir that is nearby. This piece includes sheets of paper from all of the 8 plants we used for papermaking here.

Jane working on sitemapJane working on sitemap This is the last day for Jane to work on the two site maps that she is making for the Tainan residency. She also worked on the book and signs for the exhibit that opens tomorrow. She completed them and had time to rest.

Today is the last full day that we are in Tainan. We installed the two Tainan site maps and the community work in the gallery. They went well with the other works. There was a closingl reception with some of the participants from the workshop and students from the university attending. The exhibition will be on view until 5 PM today and then we will begin packing everything for our next place in Miaoli County.  Following the reception we went to photograph one of the plants we has used in Tainan County and then to a local restaurant to have lunch. We walked into the restaurant and saw a large mural on the wall of a Paris street with many European diners. Someone had painted Chinese characters on one of the flower boxes to tie it to the local restaurant. We asked a couple of our hosts to sit infront of the mural and play like they were eating on the French street.   The rest of the day we will be packing our boxes to ship them on to Miaoli County for our next stop..

University in the CountryCountry ImpressionsClosing receptionFrench mural






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(updated on April 14, 2005 )

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