Ms. Chen Huei-Mei, born in Luodong, Yilan County in 1950, was originally engaged in teaching and creation of the leather art. She met her mentor, Granny Hsieh Chen Aiyu and engaged in the entwining art for 20 years. It is a pity that entwining art declines. Then Ms. Chen steps on the inheritance and promotion of the entwining art.
In the early years, she set up counters in National Center for Traditional Arts in Yilan. Apart from engaging in the leather art, she also engaged in the entwining art and taught process and skill. She devoted herself to innovation and let the entwining art combine with fashion. Later, she founded the Chinese Entwining Art Association to pass on the techniques of the entwining art. To preserve the techniques of the entwining art, she published "Spring Flower: Chen Huei-Mei's World of the Entwining Art" in 2009. Then she published "The Refine Works of the Spring Flower-Sending Blessing through Skilled Hands" in 2016.
In 2010, she was registered as the preserver of the intangible cultural heritage in the Entwining Art. In 2012, she received approval from the Ministry of Culture to establish the first Craft House of "The Spring Flower". Her career is to carry forward and promote spring flower.
Xie Ya-Xiu, born in Lukang, Changhua County in 1947, has learned string flower from her grandmother and mother for 40 years. Xie is the third generation and is the distinguished craftsman in Lukang.
Besides inheriting from the ancestors, she devotes herself to inventing new style and engaging in teaching. She makes a contribution towards the entwining art. Thus, she was registered as the second preserver of entwining art in Taiwan by Changhua County Government
Currently, she is active in the Chinese Entwining Art Association and teaches in university. She tries her best to promote this traditional craft and plans to publish the book which carries on spring flower in Lukang and preserves her unique works.
Cheng Hui-Mei, a professor in Shih Chien University, has studied Hakka clothes for years and had a chance to meet Chan-hua. In the techniques of reproducing Chan-hua, the materials of Chan-hua are cheap and the techniques are not difficult. However, patience and perseverance are required on the making process. She founded the Chinese Entwining Art Association with Chen Huei-Mei. In order to innovate and create new patterns of Hakka Chan-hua, she received the funds from the Ministry of Culture.
Her books are "The Classical Fashion of Embroidered Elegance-The collection album of Clothing" and "Hakka Needlecrafts in Taiwan: Chan-hua (silk-wrapped flowers) ".
Chen Huei-Mei combines aesthetics with tradition in her spring flower. For her, the most difficult part is that what you want to do is different from what it comes out because spring flower is wrapped by hand. She spent a lot of time making each works. But Chen Huei-Mei sticks to hand skill, putting modern aesthetics and element into spring flower to continue the mission of culture. And protection and inheritance are irreplaceable. For craftsman, the value of traditional craft is not keeping it, but passing on the skills.
In recent years, many people devote to making Chan-hua. Chen Huei-Mei is worried about the skills. In order to monitor the quality of teachers, she submits the certificate standards of Chan-hua skills. She divides the skills into 15 items. People who pass 12 items can get the certificate. Chen was the first Chan-hua craftsman who submits Chan-hua certificate standards. Chen learned 8 kinds of spring flowers from Mrs. Hsieh Chen Aiyu and 4 kinds of spring flower from Mrs. Tsai Hsieh –Ying. They form the twelve diversities in the wedding banquet. It not only preserves the traditional craft but also shows the meaning of completeness and luck.
Apart from peonies, jinxua, and lilies, Chen Huei-Mei made various kinds of animals. From the year of rat in 2008, she started to create the first animal. She created one animal each other. From rat to pig, she already made twelve kinds of animals. She made spring flower more complete.
When Chen Huei-Mei learned Chan-hua from Mrs. Aiyu, she was only taught by oral, because no records exist. Many procedures are not clear and lack of definition. When Chen Huei-Mei was registered as the preserver, starting to give the definition of basic techniques and name the parts. In 2016, she published "The Refine Works of the Spring Flower-Sending Blessing through Skilled Hands" in 2016.
Lukang plays an important role in the traditional craft in Changhua County. To display the cultural features of Changhua craft and promote Taiwan handicraft, Changhua Culture Bureau & National Cultural and Creative gift Center hold a joint exhibition of Lukang crafts.
The Culture Bureau points out Xie Ya-Xiu learned spring flower from her mother, doing her best to promote the beauty of spring flower. Even in today’s society, Xie Ya-Xiu hopes to make spring flower bloom. She was registered as the preserver of the intangible cultural heritage.
Xie explained the different usages of string flowers (Xiu Xian Hua). The bride would wear pomegranate hairpin, an auspicious symbol of childbirth and many descendants. The bride’s family has to prepare a couple, and the groom’s family also has to prepare a couple when they went to bride’s family. The matchmaker just needs to wear red ones, no fixed patterns. The plum blossom, deer and turtle are offered by the bride to the groom’s mother and grandmother. The lily signifies happy marriage. The spring flower is like Office Hat, a common style. For instance, those red flowers stuck in rice bowls signify having a surplus. The spring flowers stuck in steamed rice cakes signifying making money. When you move into a new house, the spring flower is the best auspicious flower. In the early years, the married women wore spring flowers on head, signifying blessing.
How long does it take to make a spring flower? Xie says I can’t tell you because it is made step by step. The process of wrapping means blessing and luck. Therefore, I can’t do it too quickly. Xie puts knitting and embroidery into her works. Apart from learning traditional skills from family, she also learns lapping and binding method from Mrs. Granny Liang Hong-Wen. Apart from the styles of flowers, she also creates new style of animals, insects and fruit to add beauty. She also improves traditional flower design. She invents new flower styles, like bouquet and corsage flower. When her daughter got married, she also made a bridal bouquet and corsage flower to express blessing from two generations.
To inherit and rebuild Hakka Chan-hua crafts, Professor Cheng Hui-Mei of Shih Chien University Fashion Department does a field study. In the study paper of Taiwan Hakka Chan-hua skills, it records the material information, builds Hakka Chan-hua design and analyzes the methods. According to the shape and pattern, she sorts, analyzes and records the steps to create diverse three-dimension Chan-hua, keeping the taste of Hakka tradition.
In the book of "Hakka Needlecrafts in Taiwan: Chan-hua(silk-wrapped flowers) ", she stated that the origin, history, usage, shape and color of Chan-hua. The most important is that she analyzes the basic skills and the creation steps. Apart from sharing the traditional skills with the people who have same interest, the more important purpose is to let the public understand, touch and like the entwining art. They can DIY through the pictures or words. The entwining art is not a folk craft. Through words and pictures, you can understand the beauty of the entwining art. Hence, you are fond of the needlework craft
In recent years, the Hakka traditional craft declined, needing to be preserved. The Taoyuan Hakka Culture Foundation held the first forum and invited scholars and professionals to discuss "the sustainability and future of Hakka traditional craft". We hoped to innovate and develop the Hakka traditional craft and Hakka Creative Industry. In the forum, Professor Cheng Hui-Mei said that the building of talent pool and DIY class are necessary for the youth in the entwining art.