Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Couple builds mini replica of historic building using cards

By Yan Hung-chun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chiu Pi-mei and her husband, Wu Yu-fung, present their origami replica of the Yi Yuan Heritage House in Tianwei Township, Changhua County, on Friday.

Photo: Yan Hung-chun, Taipei Times

A couple running a scooter repair shop in Changhua County’s Tianwei Township (田尾) on Friday completed a 3D replica of the county’s Yi Yuan Heritage House (益源古厝), using four-color cards.

The couple, Wu Yu-fung (巫裕豐) and his wife Chiu Pi-mei (邱碧梅), said they started playing around with the cards after a friend gave them a used deck of four-color cards. Four-color cards (四色牌), is a card game usually played by families for fun that is popular in the countryside. Its rules are very similar to Mahjong, but they tend to vary from place to place and from player to player. However, Wu and Chiu took to using the cards to make origami instead in the periods when business was slow.

The miniature replica of the Yi Yuan Heritage House took Wu and Chiu more than two years to complete because of the couple’s close attention to detail, from the arrangement and color of the roof tiles to the construction of the doors, which are fully functioning.

The Yi Yuan Heritage House was built in 1843. It is one of the few standing heritage buildings from that period, preserving not only Chinese architecture, but also the calligraphy and drawings from the Japanese colonial period. Designated a second-class national heritage in 1985, the house was severely damaged in the 921 Earthquake in 1999, but the house was fully repaired in Dec. 2003.

Wu said the first thing he and his wife made was a pad on which they could put pots, adding that after their friends had seen it and given them encouragement, they started making other items.

“The creations that we’ve made with the four-color cards are done very much like stacking Lego bricks, only we have to make the bricks by folding the cards into little, different shaped pieces and then connect them together,” Wu said.

“If we don’t make sure there’s a very good connection between the pieces, the finished product will be very unstable and it could even fall apart,” he added.

Over the years, the couple has produced over 100 different origami products, and they have even used a room to the side of their shop to exhibit their artwork.

“We didn’t take any classes, we just dived into it,” Wu said, adding they did not really have a set formula or technique, but rather went by feel and instinct.

“I tend to make things from farming villages in earlier days, such as stone mills, vegetable pantries, manual pumps, and models of houses as they were back in the day,” Wu said, adding that though many people had asked him to make a replica of Taipei 101, he said it would not be “challenging enough.”

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