1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
In order to create a website, we have to research information about lacquer thread sculptures and interview both masters Chin-Yi Yen and Jia-Yi Lin. First, for background research, we used our laptops, including seven MacBooks and two HP computers, to access websites containing information about both masters and then organized the information we found in Google Drive and Google Docs. USBs are also used to carry and send data. Next, we designed and sent a survey via Google Forms. Then for our interview with the lacquer thread sculpture masters, we used cameras on three legged stands for filming, digital still cameras to take photos, and mobile phones for note taking and contacting each other. In the final stage of designing a website, we used PCs, Adobe Muse, Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Premiere. Though we could obtain information about lacquer thread sculptures by looking through library books, we find researching online much more efficient, so we chose digital sources as our approach to enhancing our understanding in lacquer thread sculptures. As most research is conducted in school, we took advantage of the school’s provided Wi-fi to navigate through websites. In a way, Google Forms is the most valuable tool we have because we collected over 160 responses rather efficiently within days by emailing the survey to students and members of the school faculty, which would otherwise take much more time and resources if we had handed out printed surveys to each individual to fill out instead. Without these softwares and tools, creating a website would be much more inconvenient.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
Throughout the project, the students had to act as ambassadors and spokesperson in person and online in order to achieve the purpose of the project, informing others about traditional cultures. Starting small, the team worked tirelessly during club time to not only finish their assigned tasks but also inform the club teachers and other members of the club about their topic, Lacquer Thread Sculpture. For the project, the students had to contact the two masters for interviews, and it was through great length that the students were able to get the masters’ consent for an interview. The interviews with the masters was one of the things that really drew people’s attention. In addition to the interviews, the students sent a survey out to the school in order to get students and teacher’s views about the topic, while informing the school about the project we were conducting. The feedback for the survey was positive and some students and teachers displayed interests in learning more about the project, for which the students replied with some basic information, enough to provoke enthusiasm but not too much so they don’t get bored. Overall, the students’ roles as ambassadors were demonstrated well throughout the project.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
The group sent a survey to the school students and faculty members to understand how well they know traditional Taiwanese handcraft, mainly about lacquer thread sculptures. With around 150 responses, not only were we able to gather information for our project, those who filled out the survey also had the opportunity to realize the importance of Taiwan’s preserving traditional art. After gathering the responses, we found out that most of the people who responded did not have much knowledge about the traditional culture. Thus we researched about lacquer thread sculpture, interviewed two lacquer thread sculpture masters, organized all of the information, and published them on our website. With our website, even though we are not sure about whether people all around the world have learned about lacquer thread sculpture, but it is certain that we have provided a platform for people who are interested in the Taiwanese traditional culture, and we allowed everyone to access to our website, in which they would definitely learn something new after visiting our website. It is true that we are uncertain about whether people all around the world had learned something through our website, but our website was visited by a few of the students in our school, and they were all amazed by the beautiful and unique Taiwanese culture. And this indeed showed our website helpfulness as it was able to promote lacquer thread sculpture and make people acknowledge the artwork, as well as to gain publicity for the Taiwanese traditional culture.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
For this year’s project, our team chose “Lacquer Thread Sculpture”, a traditional sculpture technique with deep historical and cultural roots. However, information about lacquer thread sculpture is scarce on the internet, thus our team decided to directly contact two lacquer thread sculpture artists and arrange interviews. Through the help of Facebook, our team found only a handful of artists, and after calling each and everyone of them, Master Chia Yi Lin and Master Chin-Yi Yen, both very experienced lacquer thread sculpture artists, agreed to conduct an interview with us. Mr Lin and Mr Yen are one of the few remaining artists in Taiwan who practice lacquer threat sculptures as a profession, and they provided us first hand experience of practicing lacquer thread sculpture; at one point during the interview, several of our team members were fortunate enough to try out lacquer thread sculpture for the very first time! Without Mr Lin and Mr Yen, our project would’ve been impossible to complete; not only did they help us gather the information we needed, Mr Lin and Mr Yen filled us with awe by granting us the opportunity to experience the delicate art of lacquer thread sculpture hands-on.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
During researching on the chosen topic “Lacquer Thread Sculpture,” the group made interesting discoveries of the passion individuals possess in their own fields. Since the website requires in-depth knowledge, our group decided to have interviews with two different professionals in regards to Lacquer Thread Sculpting. The group always thought that interviewing professionals would be challenging since they are hard to reach. Surprisingly, after contacting them for the first few times, they immediately agreed to our interview. Not only did they welcome us to their homes, one of them also showed us how to perform lacquer sculpting in their workplace and gave us the lacquer thread that we made as souvenirs. Overall, the experience of reaching out and visiting professionals that embraced us with warmth and generosity surprised us the most.