Fiber artist Chen Ching-lin (陳景林) is the founder of Nantou-based Tennii (天染工坊) workshop who uses his artistic background as a western-style painter to create tapestries of art with fabrics and organic dyes.
His fibrous journey began under veteran weaver Lou Jing-wei (婁經緯), then he moved on to a stage of personal experimentation and research. At one point he traveled to Yunnan in China to conduct field research on the weaving and dyeing techniques used by the area's ethnic minorities.
Over the span of about a decade, he investigated the woven goods of some 20-plus different ethnic minorities. As the entirety of Southwestern China was untouched by urban and industrial development then, a number of ancient traditions and techniques have thrived essentially untouched.
He founded Tennii in 2003 with his wife Ma Yu-hsiu (馬毓秀), using the workshop as a way to focus on product development and expansion of marketing. Product development can be seen as an extent of Chen's continuous studies into the applications of natural dyes and raw materials native to Taiwan, while expansion made use of the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute's many marketing channels and competition opportunities.
Recent award-winning products from Tennii include plaid-patterned and ombre-colored scarves made from worm silk and plant dyes, vibrant fabric installations that have graced the atrium of malls and subway stations, bespoke suit jackets, and indigo-dyed tapestries that take inspiration from classic Chinese ink wash paintings.
In the future, Chen says, the products of his workshop Tennii will focus on two main tracks: craftsmanship and creative everyday items. The former involves the production of collectible pieces of art, while the latter is focused on developing fashionable clothing and home decor.