In the spring of 2006, the New Taipei City Nativist Culture and Art Association was established on the left bank of Bitan, Xindian District to advocate the art of natural dyeing and weaving. By utilizing dyes from plant sources, coloring textile yarns, and transforming them into woven crafts with traditional techniques, the association seeks to solidify community ties and vitalize the local economy.
Surrounded by mountains and lakes, Xindian's Pingtan community (平潭社區) has been producing natural indigo dyes since the early 19th century. The first waves of immigrants introduced Hill indigo (大菁, Strobilanthes cusia) to northern Taiwan and cultivated the plant all over river valleys in the Yangmingshan area, which gradually grew into a local industry. Today, six traditional dye pits known as "Jinque (青礐)" are preserved on Shizitoushan (獅頭山), offering glimpses into Xindian District's historic role in the development of Taiwan's indigo industry.
The abundant natural resources in the mountainous district of Xindian drew artists Chen Ching-lin (陳景林) and Ma Yu-hsiu (馬毓秀) to make the place their home for conducting research on natural fibers and pigments. With over half of their samples collected from mountains in Xindian, the couple has made significant progress in their field of study in recent years, paving a solid foundation for dyeing and weaving knowledge unique to Taiwan.
To build a core value for the community, the association initiated a workshop for weaving and designing naturally dyed products in 2012. Using the community workshop as a base, the association helped foster integrity and community identity by encouraging unemployed women to take part in the natural dye industry. Moreover, local resources were utilized wisely to keep in line with the association's goal to boost Xindian's artisan economy.
With environmental conservation and craftsmanship preservation at its core, the association uses plant pigments to create vibrant hues and memories. Over the years, it has been dedicated to nurturing and harvesting local plants, seeking to gain more recognition for the community by yielding even more beautiful and unique natural shades. Moreover, it teaches women these traditional techniques, so they can earn a living as an artisan and give back to the community.