The Jenju Village Community in Taiwan, also known as ‘Jane’s Pearl’, is the ancestral site of the Pingpu Kamalan Tribe. The Dongshan river runs directly through the community,Â making it ideal for residents to preserve the area’s rice paddy-based industry, which accountsÂ for up to 136 hectares of the area in and around the village. Following each rice harvest,Â a huge amount of rice straw is left behind. historically for farmers, this was an essentialÂ building and material supply. However, with our changing times, this excess supply isÂ no longer needed for building and is not being utilized.
Taiwan is currently facing many agricultural changes, as certain types of materials and products are being removed from their areas. Jenju Village communities are promoting the symbiotic concept of peaceful coexistence with nature, encouraging us to return what we have expelled, so that nature can begin to produce and provide us with essentials once again.Â For the preservation of the village’s rural culture and ideas concerning the environment, Taiwanese designers Gina Hsu(Hsu Ching TingÂ å¾æ™¯äº) and Nagaaki Shaw(Hsiao Yung MingÂ è•æ°¸æ˜Ž) have developed ‘Rice Straw Design’ – a series of objects – in which the straw received from the fields is used by the community to promote the material itself, becoming a point of departure for use in arts and crafts. As part of the development and usage of this rice straw, a museum, as well as a DIY shop has been established so that visitors can experience the art and craft of working with theÂ natural material.
Rice or grain products have advantages and disadvantages concerning its usages as aÂ design material. One of the advantages of rice straw, rice bran or rice itself is that it isÂ rich in texture. however, the major disadvantage of these materials is that they do notÂ possess enough long-term durability. Gina Hsu and Nagaaki ShawÂ have combined epoxy resin with theÂ straw and rice to improve their resilience and durability so that the materials may serveÂ a broader purpose and be transformed into items used in the home on a daily basis.
The projects will be on show at theÂ Lanyang Museum, Taiwan until september 26th, 2010.