CyberFair Project ID: 6312

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Passing yet Lasting Art – Discovering the Beauty of Paper Art
Category: 8. Local Music and Art Forms

School: LuChiang Elementary School
    Taipei County, Taipei County, Taiwan

10 students, ages 11-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on February 28, 2010. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Classes and Teachers: Ms. Li-chen Lu, Ms. Wen-chun Li, Ms. Wan-ping Chiang, Ms. Chin-chen Liu, Mr. Chun-ju Lu

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Luchou City is a place which values the folk and traditional customs and beliefs. There are numerous temples in the city which are the spiritual sustenance of the residents in the city. In recent years, the convenient traffic has facilitated the rapid development of Luchou. A lot of skyscrapers have been built one by one and the external population has immigrated here year by year to settle down, which makes the traditional art, paper art, trapped in the gap between the tradition and the modern times. People are dismayed by its decline. It was hoped that our research could arouse people’s attention to this valuable folk and traditional art.

2. Summary of Our Project

Paper art, also known as paper-pasting art, is often used in funerals, Buddhist ceremonies, Taoist putu rites, and Jiao ceremony. It has also become a rarely seen folk art due to the gradual decline of the demand of people. The major materials of paper art are paper and makino bamboo, and the major tools are firewood choppers and sickles. The main techniques include chopping the bamboo, setting up the bamboo framework, cutting paper, pasting paper, paper carving, and writing couplets. The currently exhibiting paper art shop in the city is located on Chunghsiao Road and it has been in existence for more than three decades Baohe Temple: it was founded in 1900. The split spirit of Baosheng Emperor was enshrined in Luchou and thus the temple named “Baohe Temple” was built with the sponsorship of seven neighborhood alliances, Loutsaicu, Shuinan, Sichian, Tudigong, Sanchungpi, Bali, and Luntseding. Every March 15 on lunar calendar, the birthday of Baosheng Emperor, the boar competition will be hosted by the seven neighborhood alliances. It is one of the most popular temples in Luchou, Bali, Wugu, and Sanchung. The paper art studied was used in the one-hundred-year anniversary Jiao ceremony and all the works were created by Master Yeh in the Chunghsiao shop, which enabled us to have an opportunity to understand the meaning and use of paper art for Jiao ceremony.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

The information equipments in campus are complete and well-organized, and every class has its own computers. There are four computer classrooms and one library network center. The school network is connected to Education Network Center of Taipei county via 100MB optical network, which provides the information inquiry. Students can complete their homework online via the ADSL of their home computer network equipments.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

1. Assignments and after-school courses decreased the time for study Every team member of our team had to take lessons after school from Monday to Friday, and attend the courses of English, Piano, and painting at night. On the weekend, they also had to attend various talent classes. Therefore, the only time for research was the one hour from 12: 30 to 1: 30 every noon. The team members sacrificed the lunch break to search information online, discuss various activities, and write reports. The extramural activities could only take place by using the spare time. The most difficult problem for the team members to overcome was how to reach the balance between the pressure of school work and participation in the Cyberfair project. We spent a substantial and nervous year from September 2008 to February 2010. 2. Parents’ worries For the Cyberfair project, we sometimes had to ask for leave of absence in after-school class or talent class to hold the activities. And we often wrote the activity logs online at night. Sometimes, we even participated in the activities regardless of weather changes. As a result, many parents tended to feel worried about that the regular learning of children would be affected by such activities. And the instructor had to communicate with the parents and informed them of the nature and characteristics of Cyberfair project in the hope that their attitude could become supportive once they understood. Fortunately, most of the parents supported the project. 3. It is hard to promote the paper art because it has gradually declined Paper art plays an important role in traditional customs. However, due to the change of time and environmental transformation and the unwillingness of the younger generation to inherit the paper art, the traditional artistry has gradually declined and it is hard to promote it. Fortunately, we interviewed several paper art masters, and also invited them to address speeches and demonstrate paper art at school and in communities to support our activities, which made our research and activities more hopeful and meaningful.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

In the beginning, we originally did not find paper art an interesting research topic because the paper art pieces are simply those burned for the dead. We suggested that the only thing we had to do was to search for information and make the webpage. It never occurred to us that with the instruction of the teacher and after getting in touch with the paper art master, we gradually discovered the beauty of paper art. Whether it is the production process, the completed works, or the stories of the paper art masters, to us who were exposed to the paper art for the first time, these information endowed us with an intellectual journey of arts and humanities.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Language- In the Cyberfair project, we learned how to conduct interviews, which includes the collection of relevant documents and readings, the discussion on interview contents and writing contents in advance, the etiquette when interviewing the masters, the design, rehearsal and promotion of exhibition activities, the competence for being a narrator, and the self-review and self-reflection of the entire project. Such learning enabled us to discover our problems and solve them. During each activity, we would transform the contents of the activities to letters and recorded them in the logs, which helped us improving our abilities to listen, speak, read, write, and integrate. Social studies During the interviews, we personally experienced the opinions of many people, and further made efforts to introduce paper art to the community residents. In this research, we found that the change of time and the environmental transformation have a strong influence on the succession of paper art. Therefore, the experience of participating in the community interviews enabled us to contribute our own efforts to the succession of paper art. Arts and humanities We used visual arts, performing arts, and implementation experiences to produce the posters, picture books, and the performances of Chinese cross talks and little anchormen in the Cyberfair project. We acted as the judges in the paper art painting competition. With these artistic activities, we improved our sense for aesthetic appreciation, and also got in touch with many artistic and humanistic issues or artistic and cultural activities, which enriched our ability to appreciate art and culture. Integrative activities In this activity, we calmly expressed our respect to the activity, introspected our own experiences, and reflected on the conflict between cultural preservation and reality. Information education During the research, we found that our basic abilities in computer operation and data research significantly improved. When choosing the pictures, we would exactly abide by the regulations governing the copyrights and intellectual property rights. All the pictures on the webpage were taken by the team members themselves and modified by using computers.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

Digital camera, for recording the images. Printer, for outputting the documents. Scanner, for digitalizing and processing the images. Recording pen and recorder, for recording the voices in the interviews. Telephone, for communicating and contacting. Cellular phone, for communicating and contacting. E-mail, for communicating and contacting. Written communication, for compiling Agreement form and questionnaire. Computer, for collecting information. Notebook, for editing and displaying the briefing. Books, for collecting information. Pictures, for collecting information. Questionnaires, for collecting information. Interviews, for collecting information. Photoimpact11, for processing images. NamoWebEditor, for producing webpage and FTP. Internet Explorer, for looking for information and communicating. Word 2003, for arranging written materials. Messenger, MSN, for online chatting, discussing, and contacting. Yahoo blog, for placing pictures, logs, articles, and discussing online. ACD See, for arranging images andpictures.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

(1) Morning assembly and prize-winning competition We hoped to increase both teachers’ and students’ understanding of the paper art by morning assembly and prize-winning competition. (2) Inviting the paper art mater for speeches We invited the paper art mater to address a speech at school during his leisure time, and many classes participated in this activity. The master not only showed his skills of paper art, but also demonstrated and taught us the paper art on the spot. The teachers and students could all experience and everyone was very excited. (3) Soliciting articles and paintings from all teachers and students We hoped that the teachers and students at our school could understand the beauty of paper art through the method of soliciting articles and paintings. They could drawn their dream houses or statues of gods, or write down their feelings after understanding the paper art, which make paper art closer to our life. (4) Little Reporters Through Little Reporters, paper art was promoted to all the teachers and students at school again, which impressed them with the image of paper art. (5) Recording the paper art DVD and distributing one DVD to each class and each chief of villages in Luchou. (6) Displaying the excellent pieces of writings and paintings solicited, and assigning Little Guides for on-site explanation We solicited paintings in our elementary school, and used the library to hold the exhibition of excellent works. The exhibition attracted hundreds of teachers and students to pay a visit. In addition, every member of our team acted as the Little Guide in turn to give an introduction to the entire exhibition, which made the visitors enjoy of the intellectual journey of paper art. (7) Participating in off-campus activities - Jiao ceremony, community symposiums, and questionnaire survey To make our research known by more people, in addition to holding on-campus campaigns, we also participated in the Jiao ceremony in the temples, and held the community symposium. On ne hand, we could see more and larger pieces of papers art. Other the other hand, we could take this opportunity to promote paper art to and conduct questionnaire survey on the community residents. It was an unforgettable experience to us, which increased our sense of accomplishment.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

(1) Drawing closer the distance between paper art and teachers and students at school and that between paper art and community residents During our research, diversified methods such as soliciting paintings, holding exhibitions, and holding performances were used to introduce that how paper art is closely related to our life. The teachers and students aggressively participated in our activities. Hundreds of teachers and students attended our exhibition area to pay a visit to our three-day exhibition. The students saw the works were astonished by the exquisiteness and beauty. On the feedback slips, both the teachers and students expressed how much they admired the pieces of paper art and such exhibition. We were glad that the students and teachers at our school had a better understanding of paper art and paper art masters due to our efforts. (2) Shortening the distance between the school and community When we conducted interviews in the Baohe Temple near the school. Some community residents or the people in Baohe Temple would say, “LuChiang Elementary School is really a good school. Every student is smart and eloquent.” “I am much moved because little children like you know to contribute to the succession of local culture. Your teacher is admirable.” When hearing such praise, we felt the distance between the school and community is shortened, and we further felt the sense of accomplishment and mission. (3) Reflecting on the future of paper art Although people often think that the works of paper art are used for funerals, and do not feel like touching them, during this two-year research, we discovered that paper art itself is also a kind of art and even a cultural asset. Although the works of paper art eventually will be burned into ashes, the techniques and the meaning of showing respect to the dead will never vanish. Such craft shall be succeeded and promoted. Fortunately, Luchou City Hall provides an empty space for people to burn the paper art houses to the dead, which enables the paper art masters to bring their skills into full play and conveys the affection of the family to the dead. It is a good beginning. We sincerely hope that relevant governmental authorities can value this cultural asset and preserve the artistic value of paper art.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

1. We thank Mater Chunghsiao paper art shop in Luchou for being continuously bothered by us, addressing a speech at our school in person, and encouraging and supporting our project during the research. 2. We thank Prof. Feng-shan Weng, the master of paper art, for making a speech, giving instruction in person, and encouraging and supporting our project. 3. We thank Master Chen of Bali and Master Wang of Hsinchuang for receiving our interview and encouraging and supporting our project. 4. We thank the Director-general of Baohe Temple in Luchou, Mr. Long-ben Li, for assisting us in understanding various kinds of ceremony for preparation for Jiao ceremony and every god presented by the different paper art, and encouraging and supporting us. 5. We thank the volunteer of Baohe Temple, Mr. You-de Wang, for explaining the ceremony of Jiao ceremony and every god presented by different paper art, and encouraging and supporting us. 6. We thank the principal and directors for encouraging and supporting us during the research, and participating in our exhibitions and activities. 7. We thank Ms. Shu-feng Tsai for accepting our invitation, telling us the story of her grandfather who used to be a paper art master, and encouraging and supporting us. 8. We thank Ms. Mei-chung Wu, Ms. Li-shu Weng, and Mr. Chi-hsian-Yan for sharing the experiences and precautions of participating in Cyberfair project, and encouraging and supporting us. 9. We thank community residents for receiving our interviews, attending the discussion meeting, and encouraging and supporting us. 10. We thank the teachers and students at our school for aggressively participating in the activities of paper art exhibition, speeches, article and painting soliciting, caring about our issue, and encouraging and supporting us. 11. We thank the uncle of Ms. Wan-ping Chiang, Master Hui-chung Chiang, for introducing Master Yeh to us for reviewing, and encouraging and supporting us. 12. We thank the teaching association of our school for providing us with an office where we can hold a meeting and edit the posters, and encouraging and supporting us.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

(1)The moving story of paper art masters’ “being consistent from beginning to the end” We interviewed many paper art masters and we found that most of them did not live an affluent life. Most of them learnt the skill from their masters in order to raise their family because their family was poor. The three years and four months of apprenticeship was a hard time that almost no one could stand and would like to give up. However, they held on firmly despite the extreme adversity when they thought of that they would rely the living on this craft in the future. Afterwards, they finished the apprenticeship and became masters. They have done the job for several decades and never thought of career transition. We were much moved when hearing their stories because we knew it takes persistence and willpower to insist on something and to achieve success. They never regret the job they chose. On the contrary, they suggested that it is a meaningful job although it cannot make a fortune. The stories of the masters taught us a valuable lesson. (2) We were surprised at our potential After participating in Cyberfair project, our life became busy. Our teacher asked us not to neglect our studies due to the participation in Cyberfair project. Therefore, we usually had to give consideration to the school work on one hand, and continuously spent time in taking part in the activities of Cyberfair project on the other hand, which was really stressful. Several team members withdrew from the project because they could not give consideration to both school work and Cyberfair project. We, the remaining members, encouraged each other and formed a strong friendship which we never had before, and we cherish it very much. At the same time, we also found that once we are strongly determined, we can do anything we want even though we are young, which really surprises us. In addition, neither did we have the experiences of conducting interviews nor being Little Guides. We never made lanterns, painted picture books, and recorded the working contents in logs. We did all the things with the earnest planning and training of the teacher. We were surprised by our potential. As a matter of fact, everyone can do anything and achieve success as long as he/she is well trained.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 6312)

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