Sat, May 09, 2009 - Page 13 News List

Crafts for all Taipei’s craft markets offer art at affordable prices 台北創意市集挖寶趣


There are many creative people in Taiwan. The Tianmu Marketplace and the Red House in Ximen-ding are the two major art and craft markets in Taipei City and good places for people to go treasure hunting on the weekends.

Unique, hand-made products such as Japanese-style slippers, silver accessories for pets, hand-painted helmets, handbags, leather decorations and earrings can only be found in these art and craft markets.

In recent years, art and craft markets have sprung up all over the nation, but not many people have managed to survive due to fierce competition. Apart from selling hand-made creations, the concept of “I have a dream” was one of the best selling products in these markets.

“I set up a stall to sell things because I want everybody to know that it’s not difficult to do what you like to do,” said Asa. After graduating from medical school, Asa painted at the Tianmu Marketplace. She said that many people have things they want to do or like to do, but end up doing what they don’t like to do in order to make a living. “I want to let everybody know that it’s not that difficult to take the first step,” she said.

Asa has liked painting ever since her childhood, but her family could not afford for her to learn painting and also did not think that she could make a career out of it. As she was not interested in being a doctor, Asa taught herself painting and started to sell her works at the Tianmu Marketplace last September. With “Paint on Demand” as her slogan, she does not need to sketch before painting a picture and it takes her 10 to 15 minutes to finish one painting. She can design and paint custom-made pictures for customers on things like hats, helmets, canvas shoes, masks, pencil cases and notepads. She said that most of her customers like her to draw a caricature of their faces.


1. creative adj.

有創意的 (you3 chuang4 yi4 de5)

例: Wendy is very creative. I think she would be a good designer.


2. fierce adj.

激烈的 (ji1 lie4 de5)

例: The competition for places at art college is fierce, so you’d better work hard.


Joanne, a novice in the art and craft scene, said that designers of hand-made goods all have the same worry. They feel down in the dumps when they get few orders, but they have to work hard to catch up with their work and even stay up late every day when they have too many orders. Even though they enjoy selling things in a market, they all hope that one day they will have their own stores.

While it is great to have a dream, creative designers all worry the most about their ideas being stolen. 17-year-old Lai Yu-chan said that silver accessories were most easily copied. Lai and her elder sister sold creative silver accessories on the Internet before, but because their silver products were sold at a high price, many factories copied their design patterns, mass-produced the same products and then sold them for a low price. After a while, they felt that hand-made products could not compete with mass-produced ones and because of this they started to sell products with fabric-covered buttons instead.

“But I still believe that creativity is something that cannot be replaced” said Lai, adding that customers who purchase creative products don’t like mass-produced products. They have unique judgment and appreciation abilities and this is why creativity will continue to survive, she said.





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