The Must-See Textile Art of a Taiwanese Artist
Embark on an inspiring journey with Taiwanese artist Lee Chen-Lin as she shares her unique life perspective through the art of weaving.
“I wanted my creations to have traditional, historic elements but at the same time to be integrated into contemporary living. I wanted to find a balance between tradition and innovation.”
While Lee Chen-Lin is often recognized as a textile artist, it’s a designation that doesn’t quite give justice to what she and her art represent. Lee’s profound affinity for traditional hand weaving coexists with her modern-age impressions, so calling her a modern interpreter of age-old weaving methods might be a more appropriate description.
Growing up, Lee had a strong connection with threads, often seeking comfort in the warmth and rich textures of a thickly woven fabric. She later pursued a degree in fashion design, encountering hand-woven textiles for the first time. Lee was immediately enamoured by the material and the craft behind it, and she hasn’t looked back since.
“You can feel the weight and warmth of a piece of hand-woven textile when you grasp it in your hands,” she says.
While Lee’s heart was devoted to hand-woven textiles, she nonetheless needed to work with manufactured cloth. “This is the reality in the world of fast fashion; unfortunately, you have to work with inferior material,” she says. “But gradually I began to get tired of making designs that had to meet the market’s requirements.”
Stirred by the warmth of the textiles she loved in her youth, Lee began studying them in-depth, focusing on hand-made textiles. “There are many different types of shuttle woven fabrics, and each country has its own. The tools, technology, and even fibres used differ widely,” she says.
Mastering the craft
As Lee immersed herself in the study of fabric, her passion grew. “There’s so much to learn that a lifetime wouldn’t be enough,” she says.
In time, Lee decided to practice what she had learned and became a weaver, working mainly with Jacquard weaving, which is distinguished for its interlacing warps and wefts that form textured patterns.