The Tea Pot
Taiwanese Artist Cheng Tsung Feng turns to traditional craft to create an installation made of rice straw.
Artist Cheng Tsung FENG has a fascination for folklore and uses stories and traditional weaves to recreate art forms. His latest art installation is a takeoff from a fascinating story of a tea pot and the warmth that it ensues within it. He wants his artwork to trail the same philosophy of the tea pot, attracting closed ones within its confines to bask in the security of the warmth of traditional material.
“Cha Shou, a heat preservation teapot, made of rice straws and stuffed with cotton fabric inside, originated from the WenShui area in Miaoli, Taiwan. These containers were important to the Hakka people, Chinese origin migrants who have settled in these areas,as the farmers had pots of warm tea after they finished the farm work in the afternoon,” explains Cheng of his inspiration. “For me, the ancient handmade artifacts contain fascinating stories and techniques. These precious messages and traditions disappear if we no longer use them, and this is for me is unforgivable. I think of these ancient artifacts as treasure chests.”
He believed that these stories gave us an insight into who we were and where we would be in the future.
ChengTsung hunts out the oldest member of the particular tribe to learn the process of weaving straws recording the process through images and videos and using form, material and method, he classifies his learnings understanding the role of material in the method, role of form in the process and the wisdom within the culture
He studied industrial design but after he participated in traditional bamboo weaving workshops which made him move on to working with these traditional materials like bamboo, rattan, wood, strew, grass, brass, iron, paper, bark, soil, ceramic…etc.
“Natural materials and traditional handicraft fascinated me,” he says, “I applied age-old methods from traditional artifacts into large-scale installations, using brilliant ancient wisdom hidden in the objects and represented them through different scales and functions. Each object has a different story and production method. I follow the old process step by step to translate them into a new possibility. Thus, I inherit them by design and learn to create utensils from their tradition.”
He also made sure to use materials and labour from the area around which he installed his creation. “One of the most inspiring features of vernacular designs is that these handmade utensils used to be made of natural materials in areas where human power was limited.”
Artist: Cheng Tsung FENG
Location: Dawa, Miaoli, Taiwan
Size: Large 400(L)x400(W)x263(H)cm, Small 170(L)x170(W)x100(H)cm
Materials: Rice straw, Cotton yarn, Japanese CedarCredit
Organizer: Hakka Affairs Council
Co-organizer: Miaoli County Dahu Township Office, Dawo Cultural Ecological Association
Curator: Wata Art
Marketing Manager: Jolin Lin
Project Designer: Xin Jun Liu
Wooden Structure: Yumu Manufacture & Research
Partner: Yu Cheng Shen, Shi Jiun Wang
Photographer: Yu Cheng Shen