It is not uncommon for many parts of Taiwan to hold weekend artisanal markets featuring organic produce and creative goods from local designers and artists. It is also the best place to stake out popular online illustrators and artists, who usually set up a pop-up store for their creations and designs.
On March 7th, one of my favourite illustrator named Hank hosted a creative market in at Hobe, Tasmsui area. Hoho Picnic Ground was the named of the market, and he enlisted many of his artistic friends to join in the fun, filling the stall roster with many hand-made goodies and creative stationery.
Unlike other street stalls that are usually located at busy areas in the city, Hank wanted to create a forest-like ambience. Hoho Picnic Ground is on top of a secluded hill, surrounded by green trees and next to a local designer’s cafe. The large orange banner was designed by Hank himself, adding another dose of hand-made to the overall theme.
It is clear that although the location is quite secluded, avid followers of these illustrators will do anything to meet their idol. On that cool saturday morning, many stationery lovers like me took a bus from Tamsui MRT Station to the bottom of the Hobe Fort (A historic site in Tamsui where the area was named), and trekked all the way to the lively market.
Up to 20 stalls featuring handmade goods form a circle around the wooden platform. Some of the shops sell custom made washi tape shelves, hand carved rubber stamps, illustrated postcards and more.
One of my favourite artist Elainee.’s also has her own table. A long queue is there to have her draw a water-colour portrait, one of her strongest works. The wait is too long for me, but it was still amazing to see the artist at work!
(Elainee.’s hand-drawn portrait postcards)
The most popular stand would have to be Hank’s own designed washi tapes. He and his friends formed an online brand called Ours, which featured multiple lines of water-colour washi tape with the cutest illustrations.
There are about 80 or so people in queue to shop at their table, no kidding. Only on that day that his new washi – “Feather” and “Country-side” would be on sale. The warm and lively water-colour artwork on a transparent washi background is the best decoration for daily journaling.
I waited for up to 1 hour in queue, the line was so long. In foresight, it was a good idea to bring a book along, and I got to read a good portion of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. There was a gentle breeze and the green trees around me are really relaxing.
Finally, I got to meet Hank and Koopa in person! They were all very friendly and keep apologising for the long queue. The washi tapes are displayed in neat rows in large baskets. After the long wait, what more can I do than to fill my basket with rolls of those washi tapes?
For many of these artists, hand-carving their own rubber stamps is only a small part of their talent. Therefore each stall puts out an ink pad and personal stamps for stationery lovers to collect. I keep seeing people whip out their Hobonichi and TN to collect these personalised stamps.
(personalized stamps and beautiful name card of Hoho Picnic Ground)
Although some of the ink is not very forgiving on Tomoe River paper and bled through, I decided to keep that colourful personality. It was a fruitful day to connect and meet the faces behind amazing artistic creations online. My Instagram showed that many of the stationery gurus famous on IG were also at this special event! If you ever visit Taiwan, don’t miss out special weekend markets such as these!
Check out this time-lapse video of the bird-eyes view of Hoho Picnic Ground!