Monday, December 31, 2012

in my dream / 在夢裡


I spent two whole days traveling to Thailand in my imagination, totally leaving behind my drawing kits and sketchbooks. 


I ended up looking for my new sketchbook in my dream last night. It took me much effort only to find nothing. 


So when the crowds outside welcome the dazzling sounds and lights, I am going to utter in the new year with lines and colors in the house, in a very quiet manner...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cultural tour in Taipei / 台北文化之旅

攝於田園城市書店.台北 / photo taken in Gardencity Bookstore, Taipei 


Since coming back to Taipei from London, I have felt the urge to know more about my city. Thus, when I discovered the cultural walking tour held by Taipei National University of the Arts, I was rather thrilled. The tour of December is about the bookstores and cultural and creative industry in Datong and Zhongshan Districts in Taipei, which used to be the major business hubs. 


The first stop is Gardencity Publishers and Bookstore near exit 1 of Shuanglian MRT Station. The owner, as you can see in the middle of the photo, focuses on publishing books written by Taiwanese authors and about Taiwan. Then they are translated into other languages and promoted abroad. There are also illustrated publications in the form of picture books more for adults. If you are interested, why not take a try? 


The basement of the bookstore is a small but tasteful exhibition room. The publisher emphasizes that they are particularly interested in works that center around people or handmade feel. The upcoming exhibit, starting from Jan. 5, is about love letters in the form of visual images by several photographers. 


During our stay in this bookstore, I recalled the trip to Nobrow in London half a year ago. Back then I had the idea that there wouldn't be so many resources in Taipei. Now I am glad that I have taken a step forward, thus realizing that many Taiwanese are actually working hard for art and culture. 

攝於台灣好.店 / photo taken at Lovely Taiwan Shop 


The second stop is Lovely Taiwan Shop near Zhongshan MRT station. The foundation Lovely Taiwan was founded by several entrepreneurs who were brought together by their common goal to protest against the construction of freeways in the east Taiwan. Later, they decided to turn their opposition into positive contribution. Their ideal is to do something for the cultural industry of Taiwan. 


Apart from promoting artworks by Taiwanese artists, the foundation also cooperates with the minority groups in Taiwan. They stress the importance of stories behind every product. In this way, customers  get to learn more about Taiwan. In the shop we sampled chocolate made by female prisoners in Taichung. Also, we tasted black tea planted by farmers who would like to be on their own feet again after the famous 921 Earthquake. Most of all, I was surprised to hear that now international tourists make it a point to experience Taiwanese culture on their trips here, in which the creative industry plays an important part. 


I bought one of the white mugs shown in the photo above, designed by a Taiwanese artist two months ago. It not only brings me great joy at work but also attracts the attention of many colleagues. 

攝於日星鑄字行 / photo taken at Ri Xing Type Foundry  


I was most looking forward to visiting Ri Xing Type Foundry on the walking tour. Since reading about it in the newspapers two months ago, I had wanted to take a look at the shop in person. Ri Xing is the only type foundry left in Taiwan now. It is more than a shop; in fact, there is much historic significance to it. 


There are English and Chinese typefaces in various sizes, and the customers can take their time to select the words they are looking for. 


It has occurred to me how to make use of these resources. Next time I'll go back to the foundry, with a BIG budget! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The magic channel / 神奇通道


I found the boys nestled in the study all warmed by the orange-color light upon coming home from work one day. I couldn't help sitting down on the floor along with them, but little did I know that this was the beginning of a very wacky story. The children asked me where I was going the same evening. Because I didn't want to give a boring answer such as attending a seminar, I made up an answer with a beautiful visual image: I am going to the sea adjacent to the forest, and from there, you'll see a whole sky of stars. I guess I gave too tempting an answer that before I left, the boys lingered at the door begging me to take them along next time. 


The major reason why the boys are so into the story is that I include all their favorite cartoons and books in it. I also make my recent favorite Korean drama part of it. Kai loves the horse of the protagonist,  so we hide it in the forest near the sea. Not satisfied with mere verbal description, we decide to draw the story, which we name "The Magic Channel." From here, the boys can go wherever they want to.


Though I can guarantee I can make kids very happy, but they gotta have a very strong sense of reality!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shakespearan week / 莎士比亞週


I think my theme of the week is Shakespeare. I am currently reading the part with many quotes from his plays in The Brave New World. And the young girls in London sent me  a postcard from Stratford-upon-Avon earlier this week. 


I took Jazel on a birthday trip to Stratford-upon-Avon at the beginning of this year, and Jazel took Liwen there for her birthday at the end of the year. Though in Taipei, I benefited from them both too. I know how fantastic my year in London was when I look back on it, but there is never a tinge of  sadness. That's because I know the ripple effect will last and expand in my life now... 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Book / 我的書


I spent hours doing the layout for my book every day during the past two weeks. Today I finally sent the book to the publisher for the picture book contest. God showered me with help during this period of time. There was Caterina in Italy, who read the book for me before I started the layout design. My family had to go through the repeated process of selecting the best image out of several similar ones for me. My colleague Anna in the office was constantly pestered because of my ignorance in Indesign and Photoshop. Even the employees in the printing company offered their help without charging me extra. I feel because I wanted to achieve the goal really badly, the whole world was united to help my dream come true. 


After I had the book printed, I read it to Kai. He didn't want to part with the book upon hearing that it would be away for a while. Well, when my stars are flying, I have less than one month before the next competition is due. And there are so many other stories I want to tell...

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Go with the flow / 順勢而爲


I went to the Taiwanese film Touch of the Light. The heroine says, what happens along the way is not there to stop us from reaching our goals. In fact, the setbacks are meant to take us closer to our dreams. 


As long as we LISTEN to what life wants to say and go with the flow.