Taiwan is subtropical. The unique climate makes the environment suitable for growing bamboos and rattans. In the past, the immigrants from China in 19th century came were surprised to find the bamboo forests here in Taiwan. At the same time, they brought the craftsmanship of their own, combined the local resources and created the Formosan art of this kind. In 1960s, Taiwan turned into the kingdom of bamboo and rattan weaving. Until now, the local specialty shares its beauty with the world.
2. Summary of Our Project
The Taiwanese-styled rattan craft is a world-renowned craftsmanship. Due to the unique humidity and heat of Taiwan, people have a strong tendency of using bamboo and rattan. After the immigrants from China came to Taiwan, they down on local resources and transplanted the craftsmanship of rattan woven from their hometown, combined by the skills from Taiwan's aboriginal people and made Taiwan a world-famous country. Not until now, products made of bamboo and rattan is designed to what customers need. Through skillful masters, the products of rattan are unique and sophisticated. But as cheap plastic rises, the rattan crafts seem to go on a downfall, drowning in the change of time. In addition, bamboo and rattan crafts making is a high time-consuming job, and comparing with speedy plastic factories, the younger generations aren’t willing to devote in this industry anymore. Luckily, there are still many skillful masters out there working hard to preserve this wonderful craftsmanship, and teach those who have any tendency to learn. Touched by their spirit, we decided to dig in and discover more of this craftsmanship hidden in our lives, and share the beauty of it with all those who are willing to hear.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home: more than 50% B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom: more than 6 C. Connection speed used in the classroom: dedicated connection D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet: 4-6 E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional): We have wifi connection covering all our campus. It is not common to have such sufficient access to the internet here. During the project, we received much help from our professional computer teacher Kun-Shan, Chou about the webpage conducting.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
As a group of high school students, we have met an extremely harsh problem—we have little time to deal with the project. It is known that school hours in Taiwan are long, and heavy class pressure is a great obstacle to doing extracurricular activities. In addition, we first had difficulty to recruit members of this project—everyone was so busy with schoolwork! What’s more, no one seemed to be entirely interested in this topic in the first place. But eventually, we found a group of girls who are all enthusiastic and passionate, and the curiosity towards this beautiful art lit up our desire to dig in deeper. Every time we think of our mission, and the teachers supporting us, and the master’s smile, we believe that we can accomplish this.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
To meet the standards of the CyberFair theme this year, we have chosen to learn and discover about a traditional craftsmanship in Taiwan, and we will raise the attention of the people Taiwanese about this sunset industry, and flourish it once again.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
This project is about cherishing our traditional art and craftsmanship. To save and promote this precious sunset industry, we strive to look for information and conduct research. We anticipate that, with our project, more people around the world will know about this special art of Taiwan. We act as the spokesperson of our community to promote this bamboo and rattan weaving craftsmanship. In addition, we also lead students in our school to knowing more about this piece of beautiful art hidden in our lives. For many of us in this project, this is also the first time for us to look for a skilled master which we don’t know and arrange a face-to-face interview. The master is very kind, so we were able to ask him many questions with ease. Maybe in the near future, we will have more opportunities to interview people we don’t know. For us, using Internet tools is more effective because we could save and share knowledge instantly; and because many of our discussion notes can be saved automatically, we can access our information conveniently. In participating in this CyberFair project, we not only learnt the importance of teamwork and cooperation, but also gain many useful skills: information and knowledge analyzing and gathering, designing a webpage, brainstorming and discussing and combining different opinions, and so much more...etc. We believe that these skills will help us be prepared to face the future.
1) What information tools & technology did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
In order to finish this project, we have used various tools. As a matter of fact, before participating in this project, we have never heard many of the tools introduced by our teacher. In order to conduct adequate discussion and fill our meetings into our tight schedules, we used ZOOM to hold meetings with each other. In addition to conduct meetings, arranging them is also the major problem, since the members of this team are very busy with schoolwork and bushiban (cram school), we used a Gantt chart to track everyone’s available meeting time. In the early days of our project, we had the difficulty of building a web page since none of us had any similar background. Hence, we used a commercial web page conducting tool at first. Facebook and LINE, meanwhile, are the most frequent tools we used to contact each other and our teacher. And with the open polls of these web tools, we can cooperate with each other’s opinions. By storing our discussion notes and interview photos in these tools, we can easily combine our information.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
Out of the need to find someone that is willing to offer us some information, we’ve interviewed a few group of local elderlies. After we told them about that we want to do this project in order to preserve the great craft passed down from so many years ago, they were all impressed and glad to tell us old things beyond our direction in return.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
We will raise the awareness of the people in Taiwan, especially youngsters towards this craftsmanship, and emphasize that the diversity of Taiwan built it up. The climate of Taiwan made bamboos easy to grow; those people who lived here (or lives here now)—the Europeans, the aboriginals, the Chinese, the Japanese...all have devoted in the form of this craftsmanship; the humid weather made bamboo and rattan furniture the perfect necessity. This is the role bamboo and rattan crafts act in our life, and we know so little about it. As the future generation, it’s such a shame that we know so little about this beautiful traditional art. Before doing research and interviews, we didn’t know this many about the rattan and bamboo crafts we see everyday. What's more, the bamboo chairs are still very common throughout the Taiwanese society for their ventilate specialty, but nobody knows the story behind them. Hence, by conducting our webpage and promoting our project, we will plant the concept of how precious this bamboo and rattan craftsmanship is. We will raise the attention of the people Taiwanese about this sunset industry, and flourish it once again. We believe that, with our perseverance in this project, we will bring more people into knowing about this wonderful craftsmanship.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
We were absolutely unfamiliar with this field, and thus searched the internet for some possible interviewers. Luckily, we found a master that has been working on this craft for decades, and after a short talk, he received our invitation to interview. On the interview day, he treated us with passion and was glad about we – a young group of high school students – should have been interested in interweaving bamboo and rattan. He showed us his works, and even start weaving one to show us how it goes and let us experience it by ourselves. In the process, one of our members got hurt by his tools, and we were surprise to find he immediately took medical supplies to help deal with the wounds. He said his wish is that this craftsmanship can be passed down instead of disappearing away. He hopes that it can be preserved and kept from being washed away. Many thanks to this master, we were able to finish our project smoothly. Before starting our project, we also consulted older students in school who have given us guide about how they finished their previous project. We are so grateful that they are willing to share tips with us. And we owe so much to our teacher, who taught us to use many useful tools we have never heard of, and give us technical support.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
In the Taiwanese society, bamboo and rattan furniture are actually still very common. Many of the elderly generation still prefer bamboo and rattan chairs, tables...etc. But before digging into this subject, we literally knew nothing of the story behind that furniture. Why bamboo instead of oak? Why don’t Europeans and American have this kind of furniture? How did it form? Why do Chinese people and Japanese people as well as the aboriginal people in Taiwan all have related arts and crafts? What kind of culture do they represent? During the progress of researching, we discovered so many that we didn’t know; we finally learnt that how ignorant we were, and how we know so little of the beautiful world. Eventually, they are all wonders in the world just there, waiting for us to find out.
2018 International Cyberfair, Kaohsiung Girls' High School, Taiwan