Jane Ingram Allen
Made In Taiwan
Taitung County

May 30 – June 11, 2005

Host Organization:  Bureau of Cultural Affairs
Taitung County Government, Taitung Railway Art Village

No.25 Nan-Ching Road
Taitung, Taiwan 950 Republic of China
Contact Person: Christina Tang, Yu-yen Liu
Telephone: 886-89-320378 ext 263 or 886-89-353543
FAX: 886-89-340804
Email: sctang@mail.ccl.ttct.edu.tw
Web site: www.ccl.ttct.edu.tw

Jane meeting with cultural director and staffCultural Director, Jane and Tim2 girls drawingSea and Mountain view from Cultural Director's homeWe are now in Taitung and finding the area to be very beautiful. The people here are a very good example of the Taiwanese, exceptionally friendly and helpful. When we arrived at the airport, two of the staff from the Taitung Railway Art Village met us. We visited the Taitung County Bureau of Cultural Affairs and met Chief of the Arts Promotion Section Lee, Chi-Chung. He is a calligrapher and signed one of his art works to give to us. He will have it framed for us to take back with us. He then invited us to dinner at a restaurant on the sea shore. Before we went to dinner, we visited his studio. It is in a two-story seaside villa that has a huge yard next to the ocean.This is a beautiful spot because you can see the high mountains rising from the ocean. He asked Jane to do a small art work using the Chinese ink and brushes. She did a palm like drawing with the brush. It was after spending a couple of hours at his studio that we went to the restaurant next door with several new friends from Taitung. We had an excellent meal and enjoyed hearing the ocean break against the rocks.

exhibitJane visiting with agricultural centerpicking plantsThe next day we installed the exhibit at the gallery. It, like the studio space, is a former railway warehouses next to the tracks. Unlike Chiayi, the trains do not come through here any more. The station has been moved 8 kilometers from downtown. The gallery is a nice space, and it was easy to hang the work. We worked with some of the maintenance staff to adjust the lighting. We also went to the Taitung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station to pick plants. We had some very generous help from Kou-Jong Lin, Horticulturist and Head of the Agricultural Extension Station. We picked a number of plants that we would use to make paper. It was also there that we had a visit from a friend from San Zhi, Stella. She was with two people from the area. One was named Nabou, and he is from the Bunum Aboriginal tribe, and the other was Tommie Williamson, an American film maker. Tommie is working with Nabou and the Bunum tribe to create some documentary films and other educational programs.  Tommie invited us to visit Bunum and enjoy the hot springs. We decided that we needed to install the exhibit so it was not possible to go this time. We did complete the hanging of the exhibit by 7 PM and then went to dinner.

red carpet openingJane explaining art work to Taitung County Magistrateempty studioBunam dancersThe next day we began to work on the plants that we had picked and to set up the studio workshop space.  We also had the opening of the "Made in Taiwan exhibition at the Taitung Railway Art Village.   Many important people were in attendance, including the Taitung County Magistrate.  We met with Tommie again, and he talked about the various projects that he has doing in the Taitung area, one of which is to help children who are at risk. We visitedt Bunum Village later that day and saw the traditional dancing and singing program they give daily for the tourists.   We were also able to see the weaving studio and learn how they are doing weaving now in Bunum village.

Jane and Lee looking at booksfeeding cowsJane at cow benchOn June 2, Jane continued to make paper with the local plants, but in the afternoon we were able to travel around the Taitung area to see various sites. We first went to some of the parks that are near the sea. There are many walking trails and places for people to get together for family gatherings. We then went to the Matsu Temple. This is the largest temple in Taitung. It is exceptionally ornate with many carvings. One of the most interesting items they had on display was a very large orange pumpkin. It appeared that people had signed it. Outside we saw a very interesting person who was wearing rag socks and a yellow jacket and protective helmet.He was able to say a few words in English. We went from the temple to a dairy farm. This is first dairy farm we have visited in Taiwan. It had over 1000 milking cows. They seemed to be well cared for, and we enjoyed feeding some of them some grass.  That night we had dinner at a Thai restaurant that was very good. The owner normally runs a travel service but enjoys cooking Thai food.

Forestry Recreation arealunch with Forest Research staffteachers beating fiber to a pulpEarly the following day we went to the Chijbin Forest Recreation Center south of Taitung City. It was very beautiful, and they had a plant Jane wanted to use for papermaking.  This was a variety of pandandus, and they allowed us to take the dead leaves. The supervisor picked some of the green leaves and gave that to us as well. We then went on to the Taimali Forest Research Center in a nearby town and visited with the staff. The Chief was in Kinmen but would return later in the week. We arranged to return when the Chief would be there. We also looked at some plant books and explained that we needed some additional local plant materials for Jane's papermaking. We returned to the studio, and a group of teachers came to the open studio program Jane presented. They got to see how paper was made. They also visited the gallery.  Jane continued to make paper in preparation for creating her Taitung site map.

Jane demonstaring paper making for studentscutting treestudents making paperpressing paper The weekend was dedicated to the two-day pulbic workshop. Over 20 people attended with most being teachers. As Jane has done in the past she opened the workshop with introductions and a Power Point presentation on making paper and how it can be used for art.  The students then were shown how to make paper using the western or single dip method. They each made a sheet of paper that was put on felt and then pressed. Pressing is done by placing the stack of paper on the ground and placing a board on top. Usually, two or more people stand on the board and shift their weight back and forth to press the water out of the paper. This is a very effective method, and everyone has fun doing it. The students then placed the paper on three dimensional objects such as trees, rocks and gratings. Following lunch, students learned how to make paper using the Asian or multiple dip method. Using this method it is possible to make very strong paper that is very thin. They also learned they could put objects onto the paper and make it more artistic. At the close of the day the students had made many sheets of paper.

pouring pulpMaking artThe second day of the workshop the students continued to make paper and just before lunch they learned the pouring method. A large screen was placed on the ground and the remaining pulp was used to pour onto the screen. Items such as flowers, pictures and other found objects were added and then covered with pulp. The work created by the students would be placed out to dry and then be displayed in the gallery. Following lunch the students took the dried paper that they had made the day before and began to create artworks. Some of them did an exceptional job and made works that were very creative. It appeared that everyone enjoyed the workshop and learned quite a bit about papermaking art. Some of the students asked if Jane would be interested in teaching a class in dyeing of paper pulp. She may return to Taitung to teach again.

students looking at Jane's art workJane putting paper on tracksHanging paper to dryOn Monday, Jane had a visit from an architecture class from Tainan National University of the Arts. They came to see Jane's work and to see the architectural changes that had been done to the Railway Artist Village. They did have a chance to make the western style of paper and do the human press. Following their visit, Jane continued to work on getting her site map started. It was getting very warm in the studio area, but Jane decided to prepare her site map from there.

visiting with Chief of Taiwan Forestry Reseach Institututepeople who picked the plantssugar cane factoryThe following day we were taken to the Forestry Research Institute to visit with the Chief who had returned from Kinmen. Unfortunately, he only had a short time for the visit as he had a plane to catch to go to Taipei, but we were able to collect many additional plants from the forest area above the Center. Four workers went out to pick, and I followed later to take pictures. The timing for this picking was unusual for us, as we normally by this time in our two week schedule have completed all of the picking, cooking and paper making for samples, and Jane is into making her site map. Fortunately, we had some volunteers to help.  One of these was Ms Lee,  a local artist, who came almost every day to help.

volunteers beating barkAfter our visit to the Forestry Research Center, we had to get back to artist and curator of museumTaitung as we had an appointment with the President of National Taitung University. Dr. Gou, is a chemist and an educator. He is particularly interested in how children learn science. This study is important for National Taitung University as it has been only 3 years since the university was named a national university. Prior to this, it was a normal or teacher's college. Although they are expanding their programs, they still have a large focus on teacher education. We talked at some length about what Jane was doing and how in the future we would like to work with his University in various capacities. We have been exceedingly honored to have met and gotten to know a number of University Presidents in our travels around Taiwan. It has helped us broaden our understanding of the educational system.

This was a busy day. Following lunch we went North along the coast to see some of the sites. One that seems to fascinate many people is the "water that runs up hill". It isJane working on Taitung Stie map an optical illusion but fascinating to observe the people looking and trying to understand what they are seeing.  We then went to visit a sculpture studio and museum. It was the BooSong Art & Design Studio and The Adolan Museum of Brown-sugar and Arts. Brian Tsau, the president showed us around the facility and introduced us to one of the artists/curator.  Their museum has some exhibits about the Amis tribe, one of six aboriginal tribes living in the Taitung area. The museum also includes a sugar mill that is no longer in operation, but it has not been dismantled. It retains all of its equipment in the original colors. It would be a place that I would like to return and do a photo essay.

Now the pressure was on Jane to complete the site map for Taitung. The exhibit would open Saturday with many distinguished visitors expected to attend. We also had all of these new plants that had been picked the day before at the Forestry Research Center to get completed. Fortunately, we had a number of volunteers that helped prepare the bark and leaves for cooking. Jane continued to work on her site map.

raw fish for dinnerfishThat evening we went out with Tommie Williams to a Japanese restaurant. We ordered a variety of items based on pictures in the menu. Many we were familiar with, but there were a few that surprised us. One was a fish that by all appearances was large - in fact you had two choices - small and large. Well, with three of us, well actually two as Tommie does not eat fish, I ordered the large. The picture does not do justice to our surprise when this tortured looking small fish arrived at our table. Unfortunately, it was not very tasty, and we gave it a suitable burial by covering it with one of the few napkins that we had available. When the waitress returned to the table and noted the covered fish, she got the message bowed her head and said Amen over the fish. Needless to say this was so out of place that it sent us into gales of laughter. It was a fun evening and one that would be impossible to repeat.

Tommie filmingJane being interviewed for radio programThe next morning Jane continued to work on her site map. Tommie arrived with a film crew to shoot Jane's work in the gallery. He also asked that she continue to work with the volunteers as they prepared the plants, cooking and beating the ones that had been cooked the day before. Once he had completed the filming he will take it back to the studio and do the editing. We are not sure how this film will be used. Maybe someday will get a chance to see it in its completed form.

Jane also had a scheduled interview to do at the local Public Education Radio station in Taitung. This station is one of many that are located throughout Taiwan. It is unusual for us to visit a radio station to do an interview. It is usually done on site or by phoning the station. The interview went well and later Ms. Hu sent Jane a copy of the interview.  Jane then returned to the studio to finish her site map in preparation for the opening in two days.

Jane working on site mapIn fact all of the next day was spent working on the site map. As is becoming characteristic of Jane's site maps, this one is based on an image of the county's shape with one side featuring the culture and the other side being about the plants and the environmental aspects of the county. She completed the map by the end of the day. We went out to eat and then began the process of washing and packing.



dragon boatdraogon boat raceJane hanging site mapMayo resestrauntOur last full day in Taitung would be an interesting one. The exhibit would take place at 2:00 PM. Prior to that we needed to hang the map and the community work that had been done. Once that was completed, we had a special treat to visit the Dragon Boat races. These are held on an artificial lake that appears by its rectangular design to be built specifically for these races. The Dragon Boats as you can see from the photos are highly decorative and with a little bit of imagination they appear to be dragons racing on the surface of the water. Teams are made up from various locations. We watched the National Taitung University Team compete with the local police team. The police won. There were lots of booths selling food and souvenirs. It was fun to watch but extremely hot so we did not stay long. From there we went to a nice seafood restaurant translated into English text as Mayo Seafood. We thought that this was an interesting play on words as the word, "Mayo" means "have not." We seemed to be the only ones that saw any humor in this interpretation as we were told that this is not the same character in Chinese as the one for "Mayo" but that it is a family name. I guess it loses something in translation. We returned for Jane's closing reception in Taitung and display of the Taitung Site Map and community works.  Overall, it was an enjoyable and interesting day.

Overall, we found Taitung to be a very topical and relaxed place. Everything moved a little slower than we found in the rest of Taiwan. It probably had a lot to do with the heat. The people are very enthusiastic and love Taitung. As with all of the other places in Taiwan, we were greeted warmly and enthusiastically. We hope we can return to Taitung in the near future.


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(updated on June 27, 2005 )

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