Introducing four Korean artisans who are participating in the exhibition.
Korea National Intangible Cultural Heritage Chaesangjang (Bamboo Case Weaving) Located in the southern part of the Korean peninsula, Damyang has a mild climate and little precipitation, making its climate and soil ideal for bamboo to grow. With the largest bamboo forest in the country, Damyang also plays home to advanced bamboo crafting techniques. It’s said that its villagers have planted bamboo and drunk bamboo leaf wine together ever since the beginning of the Goryeo Dynasty. With a thick hollow stem, bamboo is not a tree but a plant that belongs to the grass family. Bamboo has a thick stem, tough fibre, fine grain, and high elasticity. It also grows quickly, like other grass plants. The craftsmen peel off thin bamboo strips evenly using their teeth, soak them in dye water, and then trim them one by one in their laps before weaving the strips alternately. Bamboo weaving was mainly done in collaboration, with people gathering together to make homemade handicrafts in the off-season. Poul Kjærholm was always keen on the balance between mass production and craftsmanship, and he planned to incorporate handcrafted elements into his designs so that his products would have to be made by human hands. Chaesangjang Sinjeong Seo showcases both balance and contrast by adding objects made of chaesang to the frames of the PK24™ daybed and the PK65™ table.
Korea National Intangible Cultural Heritage Yeomsaekjang (Natural Dyeing) Naju Plain, a fertile land that spreads out along the middle of the Yeongsan River, has been an important base for maritime transportation since the olden days and is home to various industries and distribution. Residents of Naju Saetgol have grown cotton to make cotton yarn, and dyeing culture has also developed greatly in the surrounding area. Indigo is especially abundant along the Yeongsan River, and this is because the meandering river often overflows, causing indigo to be planted as an alternative crop. Indigo seeds are sown in spring and harvested in summer. If you put an indigo plant in a jar and soak it in water for 2-3 days, the water will turn jade green. When you remove the indigo plant and add oyster shells for oxidation treatment, bubbles form, and the green water turns blue. When the pigment subsides, the remaining clear water is drained away. The mud-like indigo sediment is called "niram," and it is stored in a shaded and cool place to be used when needed. When a cloth dyed in indigo water meets oxygen in the air, the indigo colour develops. To retain the colour, impurities are removed by repeatedly drying the cloth in the sun and immersing it in water. With modernisation and the introduction of chemical dyes, traditional dyeing has all but vanished. But thanks to dedicated craftspeople who have worked to revive the art since the 1970s, the art has been kept alive. Arne Jacobsen's Egg™ is wrapped in a patchwork of indigo-dyed cotton scraps. The shadow cast along the curve of the Egg™ adds depth to the indigo.
Seoul Intangible Cultural Heritage Jasujang (Embroidery) Embroidery was initially developed to break the monotony of fabrics in the past when dyeing was not commonly used and there was no technique to weave coloured fabrics or patterns. Since this time, weaving has grown beyond simply decorating the surfaces of textiles to embody the values, lifestyles, customs, and beliefs of Koreans. Embroidery is a discipline that requires great patience. The main techniques include Jarisu (mat stitching), Jaryeonsu (crossing long and short stitching), Pyeongsu (embroidering the surface in different directions), Ieumsu (line stitching), and Maedeupsu (a technique used to depict pistil or small seeds). Nature was a source of inspiration for Arne Jacobsen, who dreamed of becoming a gardener. He looked for patterns in nature and designed textiles with nature as his motif. Swan™ is an elegant curved chair created for the SAS Hotel with the concept of a modern garden. The chair is embroidered with Chochungdo (paintings of plants and insects) done by Shin Saimdang, which reveals human aspirations through nature.
Korea National Intangible Cultural Heritage Chiljang (Lacquerware Making) Lacquer is harvested by making cuts on the surface of lacquer trees that were planted 4 to 10 years ago. There is so little to harvest, however, that royal families used to manage the production areas of this rare commodity themselves. The process of drying lacquer requires moisture. Even after being dried, the moistened lacquer breathes by itself and controls the humidity, preventing the lacquered wood from rotting. This trait caused lacquer to be traditionally used for items that require durability, such as wooden tableware, furniture, and buildings. The strong film made by lacquer is impervious to water and also resistant to heat and acid, meaning that it doesn’t corrode easily. The secret behind Tripitaka Koreana, which has been successfully preserved for over 800 years, is the lacquering on the surface of the woodblock. When lacquer is applied to a surface, the surface becomes shiny and smooth. As a natural dye, lacquer can produce various colours such as black, brown, yellow, and red. Red lacquer was considered a symbol of authority and wealth and was only allowed to be painted on royal furniture. The colour of lacquer changes over time, and Korean people refer to this phenomenon by saying that the lacquer has “bloomed.” The lamination technique of gluing multiple layers of thinly cut wood to create a single, highly durable piece of plywood is one of Fritz Hansen's specialities. Lily™ was finished with refined lacquer, Grand Prix™ with refined lacquer by applying burlap, Ant™ with red lacquer, and Series 7™ and PK0™ with black lacquer and mother of pearl.