Rush-weaving series handcrafted in taiwan

Published on March 1, 2018

Taiwanese designer chia-en lu’s handmade baskets are unique; the 280-years-technique transforms into the modern home accessory for everyday use.

gaa is a brand Chia-En Lu created to deliver the values which is passionate about and strongly believe in. Enjoying engaging with people who value heritage and tradition. Always finding it inspiring, in the fast-paced society we live in, to meet and interact with artisans as they live their lives in an almost meditative state.

Slicing the rush grass into finer fibers, each of them!

Over a century ago the YuanLi township in Taiwan was a thriving industry. During the Japanese Imperial Rule many of the locals made their living by producing and exporting rush-weaved products to the Japanese market. Rush-weaved products, were at one point, the third largest exported product of Taiwan.

In recent years the rush-weaving industry has been in steady decline, mainly due to industrialisation. Today, craftsmen and artisans alike with their amazing skills are being forced to sell their products at a disproportionate price to the local retail market in order to simply make ends meet.

The man who did the metal part

They have chosen to work in co-operation with the Taiwan Yuan-Li Handiwork Association. Founded in 2003, this organisation is dedicated to keeping these traditional crafts alive and ensuring employment within the artisan community. The craftsmen that are a part of this association benefit from fair trade and decent salaries, but unfortunately there are many the organization cannot reach due the blockage by local resellers.

Woman starting the prototyping

By carefully selecting the right partners, they can assure that more and more craftsmen will be protected by the association and be treated fairly.

The rush grass they are using is triangle-rush which is truly an amazing natural material. It’s lightweight, durable, aromatic, breathable, moisture-absorbing and a natural repellent to flees and dust mites.

Generations ago, when air conditioning didn’t exist, triangle rush grass was widely used during the hot summer months for bed linings and pillowcases. Before the invention of plastics other triangle rush grass products were hats, bags and containers.

Due to the moisture-absorbing quality of rush grass, the size of the product may vary slightly according to the humidity level of the environment, also the colour may vary over time.


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