Wed, Nov 17, 2004 - Page 16 News List

Finding creativity with the most economical materials

BY Liu Hsiao-hsin  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN LUKANG

The cock crows.

PHOTO: LIU HSIAO-HSIN, TAIPEI TIMES

Folding paper animals is often regarded as child's play, but for Shih Hsiu-Ya (施秀雅), it has now become a form of artistic expression that has won many admirers.

A housewife and an adept seamstress, Shih never thought she would become a paper artist and a regular contributor of auspicious animal figures for the Hsintsu Temple (新祖宮) in Lukang.

"It was fate. I never intended it to happen this way," Shih said. "I thought that I would be an assistant to the artist making the image," she said. "I had no idea they expected me to do it all myself."

When she did realize that she was expected to produce, on her own, a dragon drinking dew, she didn't back away from the challenge. "But I knew that as I had no experience, I had better choose a cheap material, so that if it didn't work, I could do it again and not cost the temple too much money."

So Shih chose to use paper board, and brought her experience as a seamstress to bear on cutting out the shapes before folding the whole into a three dimensional image. She painted it gold and then added the details, and when it was finished, everyone was convinced it was made out of metal. "No body could believe it was just paper," Shih said.

Translated by Ian Bartholomew

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