Wednesday, December 26, 2012


by Lin Hsin-Chen

When I received the fifth challenge, I was attending the International Quilt Festival in Houston. It was a grand exhibition, and I felt delighted, joyful and excited. Other than these feelings, I expected myself to stand in the position of learning. Curiosity made me associate with such feelings. I felt the trip was full of imaginations and inspirations.

I entered the exhibiting area of SAQA’s Seasonal Palette, and stood in front of my work, Recovery. As I gazed at my work to its every sewing detail, I discovered that my work actually replaced me as an instructor to narrate my creative ideas to the audience and it even had “conversation” with the audience directly. I felt honored and proud of it, but I also felt kind of worried at the same moment. What did I worry about? I wondered if my work itself really told the audience what I wanted to express. I wondered what kinds of conversation it had with the audience, and I wondered if the audience also put masks on my work. I was confused by these feelings and images and I doubted if I put masks on my work as well. Does everyone have these kinds of notion in their lives no matter by intentionally or unintentionally? How to describe and explain the concept of putting masks on others irresponsibly?

We need courage to pursue every improvement during our life process, to experience every precious details of life, and to amend and change. It is undeniable that we cannot abstain from the dazzled sight given by the world. For our current lives that are redoubtable, watchful, unknown or touchable, we must abandon prejudices. Then, we would find a space where we can control things independently, and learn to contend with the masks that we put on accidentally.

Visual experience is not the only way to judge others. Unfortunately, we may wear complicated eyelashes in advance to cover up our true self. Dear Masks, we don’t want to put you on ourselves or others. However, you do exist in our hearts. Please help us with our intellectual power in the changing lives, so we can ask ourselves not to wear masks and not to put masks on other people.


  1. Interesting observations about your artwork, Hsin-Chen. I know when I create, I probably feel the most exposed/unmasked and vulnerable. But I, too, wonder if my artwork puts a mask on me or others' interpretations narrow my vision. I know in talking to you in Houston, that your work is filled with significance that I would not fully understand if you hadn't explained. I was very affected by that revelation and look at my own work differently because of it. Your work is rich with your story and makes me want to know more.

    1. Dear Martha,

      I am very pleased to talk about the relationship between creation and words. During the past 20 years, I learned to know what are quilts and fibers, experienced a self-learning process and started a business of workshop teaching others quilting skills. One day, I looked back and considered what I could give to the world of fiber. It’s a serious question. 10 years ago, I discussed about the dream of cultural inheritance with my husband. I was thinking about if everything we do is for money as priority, then we would never be able to penetrate the vision of fibers and get to know the stories behind needles and threads. To be honest with you, it took me a long time to build a new “ideal”. I gave up the exchange between money and creations and started to work on efficient preservation of stories behind fibers, needles and threads. For me, it’s a feedback for “fibers”, which assisted me to grow in knowledge.

      Luckily, my family members supported and agreed with me on collecting fiber stories. I then established a NPO group to promote the writings of stories behind needles and threads, to publish the stories of creation, to find and guide people who are talented and to organize exhibitions to have communication with other artists. I hope to expand the value between artists and their works to the maximum.

      I am thankful that this dream, also a difficult challenge, is supported by other people gradually. My decision of contributing my modest effort allows me to see the endless horizon. That’s what I only gain!

      If every successful artist can contribute their stories of creation, the world of fiber would be very different.
      I’m looking forward to the future progress.

      Just as what you have done, this is truly a valuable activity. Stories are collected in Viewpoints 9, and I am thankful to be in this group.

      Best Wishes.