Student-made Wooden Puppets as Cultural Manifestation of Traditional Woodcraft

Taipei Tech Center of Woodwork Technology and Innovation (豐園北科大木創中心) held a wood carving workshop in the summer of 2020
Taipei Tech Center of Woodwork Technology and Innovation (豐園北科大木創中心) held a wood carving workshop in the summer of 2020
Student-made wooden puppets that manifest the spirit and art of traditional woodcraft
Student-made wooden puppets that manifest the spirit and art of traditional woodcraft

Students from Taipei Tech, National Taichung University of Science and Technology, and National Dongshih Industrial High School teamed up and collaborated on the design and creation of wooden puppets that manifest the spirit and art of traditional woodcraft. They had only twelve days before they need to deliver the finished products of six wooden puppets that represent six wood carving masters doing six different wood carving techniques. Their creations will be exhibit at the “Popop Taipei Exhibition” from 5th December to 3rd January.

Taipei Tech Center of Woodwork Technology and Innovation (豐園北科大木創中心) held a wood carving workshop in the summer of 2020. Five local wood carving masters, including Chang Kuo-Tung, Chiang Lung-Yen, Wang Chin-Hsing, Hsieh Shu-Wang, and Hsieh Feng-Lung, and an instructor from the center, Sung Jen-Ping, had conducted the workshop and co-taught the students the required techniques of traditional wood carving. 

“The Woodcraft Cultural Legacy Renewal Project initiated by the Taipei Tech University Social Responsibility (USR) office is expected to be an interdisciplinary and cross-generation project that innovates the traditional woodcraft industry as well as making it more cultural-driven and sustainable” said Thomas C.K. Yang, Taipei Tech Vice President and the Deputy Director of USR office. This project also echoes the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it promotes “Quality Education”, “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, and “Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure”. 

Students who participated in the workshop gave high praises to the training process. “Though it was quite challenging to produce the wooden puppets in just 2 weeks’ time,” said Huang Yu Chen, “we had gained a great sense of accomplishment when the products were ready and finished.” Hsu Yu-Wen also indicated that this project requires not only professional skills but also the abilities to conduct interdisciplinary cooperation and to be a real team player. “To maintain close communication is key to the success of this project” said Hsu. 

The Director of Taipei Tech Center of Woodwork Technology and Innovation, Chang Ro-Han, mentioned that The Woodcraft Cultural Legacy Renewal Project incorporates a two-week local workshop, a two-week on-site internship and several months of interview and video-recording of the cultural legacy of wood carving masters. “Through the preservation of cultural heritage and technical skills, we wish to transfer the valuable knowledge of traditional woodcraft to young students, and to further achieve industrial innovation through co-creation” said Chang.

The design products made by the students of the workshop will be remanufactured by the Center of Woodwork Technology and Innovation into material packages and utilized in woodworking classes. Next year, the center also plans on rolling out woodworking classes for beginners to promote woodcraft education.