Medium of Work:
Taiwanese textile artist Shu-Li Lin, a member of the region’s Atayal Indigenous tribe, creates a range of items, from traditional jackets, vests, and belts to pillow coverings and table runners, which demonstrate motifs and creative methods that have been treasured and preserved over the centuries.
For Shu-Li, each item has important historical precedents. Take for instance, her richly colored, gently padded vests in shades of fuchsia and crimson; they’re imminently wearable in contemporary settings, but are actually based on vintage garments admired by the artist. For creative research, Shu-Li visits Taiwan’s museums, and also gathers inspiration from antique garments cherished and preserved for generations by her family and from other members of her village. Shu-Li’s dedication to preserving ancient styles has actually led her to collaborate with the National Taiwan University Museum (NTUM). Together, they’ve conducted research focused on woven pieces of the great Atayal/Say-Siyat Indigenous system, dating from the late 19th century to the 1950s.
In crafting her garments, Shu-Li follows Atayal traditions, and uses natural materials of ramie threads, even though they are hard to come by in her village. Arrangements of red, black and white, the major colors of traditional Atayal weaving, are used almost exclusively. Her jackets are not only gorgeously conceived and crafted, but also contain marvelous details, such as coconut and seashell buttons. Whatever their purpose, Shu-Li Lin makes items that will be treasured for generations.