Image: All images courtesy Ministry of Culture, Taiwan.
London Craft Week is in full swing and we’re taking a look at some of the events, exhibitions and talks which are not to be missed.
Celebrating outstanding British and international creativity, London Craft Week brings together over 250 established and emerging makers, designers, brands and galleries from around the world who will be taking part in around 380 events across the week. One of these events is an exhibition by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, about Taiwanese rush weaving.
The exhibition, Lines of Possibilities: Taiwanese Rush Weaving, has been specially curated for London Craft Week 2021. It traces the practice’s origins, starting with the memories woven with rush by the households of Yuanli, Miaoli, through to recent innovations in the industry, and the emergence of brand creation and cross-field collaborations.
Taiwanese rush weaving has a history reaching back over 300 years, originating from the small township of Yuanli in northwestern Taiwan. Playing host to this unique industry, Yuanli is known as the hometown of Taiwanese rush. Handicrafts such as rush-woven mats and hats were among Taiwan’s top three exports during the Japanese colonial era and the post-World War II period. However, as time went on, Taiwan’s rapid economic development and the rise of mass produced goods on the island nation caused a decline in the rush weaving industry. However, in recent years, a younger generation of talented young artisans have returned to Yuanli, sparking a renewed interest in this traditional industry and reviving the craft of rush weaving. A new page in the story of Taiwanese rush weaving has begun, giving the craft global recognition.
Taiwanese rush weaving has been considered as an intangible cultural asset. It goes beyond time, location, and material, remaining an unshakable traditional craft with the passing of time. Taiwanese rushes resemble a common language in traditional Taiwanese culture, providing fresh perspectives on the history of Taiwan. As time goes by, rush weaving has become a shared memory of Taiwanese people.
“We tell the story of the Taiwanese culture through the craft of rush weaving”.
Lines of Possibilities: Taiwanese Rush Weaving is available to view at Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, every day 11am - 6pm until Sunday 10 October 2021.
Associated with Taiwan Yuan-Li Handiwork Association and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan. Find out more here.
Learn more about London Craft Week here.