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【Fun Hualien NO.43】Boutique workshops》Carving memories Crafting stories with a single blade Kacaw Mayaw

  • PostDate:2022-12-26

Natural talent is fully exemplified in Kacaw Mayaw. From the idea that “I can carve too,” he won a series of awards in wood carving competitions in just a few years, when he was already over 60 years old. The experience of life and life lessons have gifted him with many memories and recollections. With three carving knives, he turns the stories in his mind into warm wood carvings, preserving the tribe’s culture and history, as well as the family’s sentiments and memories.


Text by/ Ya-Qing Lin
Image/ Kacaw Mayaw, Editorial Office


Honing craftmanship with three carving knivesFrom amateur to master

Born in Tafalong, Guangfu Township, Hualien, Kacaw’s Chinese name is Yin-Lu Hu, and he originally worked in construction and lived in Shoufeng Township. When he was 58 years old, he saw an interview with a woodcarver on TV, which inspired him to think, “If others can do it, so can I.” From then on, Kacaw Mayaw always kept three carving knives in his car, and looked forward to his vacations, when he had the time to practice. He sculpted the ideas in his mind into shape, and without any formal training, he only shared his skills with a few fellow church members. His natural talent blended with his creativity has shaped his work into a rough and yet delicate style that has won him numerous awards in major wood sculpture competitions.


Memories, recollections, and creativityCarving the story of life

“My memories of my tribe, my memories of my parents, and my creativity are the stories I want to convey,” Kacaw Mayaw noted. The themes of his works include tribal culture, family memories, and faith in God. He has been influenced by tribal stories since he was a child, and has sculpted the Amis “labor exchange” culture into scenes of daily tribal life. As the head of his tribal community, he carved the tradition of presiding over the rite of passage of the tribe’s youth; the love of his parents for him as a child, his love for his parents turned into the loving figure of an elder; and the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is always borrowed by major churches for exhibition around Christmas time. Kacaw Mayaw expresses storytelling through the posture of his characters. In addition to the beauty of his art and craftsmanship, his works also allow people to feel the intersection of culture and nature, and to care about the issue of environmental sustainability.



Cultivating woodcarving talentEnthusiasm for leading woodcarving DIY experiences

Since the establishment of the “Kacaw Mayaw Woodcarving Studio” in 2007, Kacaw Mayaw has been a lecturer in many organizations, schools and workshops. From his own life experience, he encourages students to participate in competitions to exchange their skills and gain a lot from them. He also offers experiential tours in his studio, where visitors are welcome to come and participate in DIY wood carving and branding, and listen to the stories behind each of his works. In 2019, the President’s Office presented his work “Status” to the Republic of Palau, signifying that the status of Taiwan’s indigenous people is also moving internationally. In the future, Kacaw Mayaw hopes to have the opportunity to hold exhibitions throughout Taiwan, so that more people can learn about the unique culture of the indigenous people and his rich life experience through the beauty of wood carving. 



INFO|Kacaw Mayaw Woodcarving Studio
Address: No. 61, Pinghe 1st Street, Pinghe Village, Shoufeng Township, Hualien County
Telephone: 03-8661293
Business hours: By reservation only. Please call and book in advance.