A craftily arranged celebrationFrom prehistoric tools for eating and beads for decorations to the priceless porcelain displayed in modern-day museums, crafts have always been an integral part of human life. And few cities in Korea ― or perhaps the world ― celebrate the function and beauty of crafts more than Cheongju. Their party lasts 18 days.
The theme of the 2003 Cheongju International Craft Biennale, opening today in this North Chungcheong province city, can be summed up in one word: utility. This refers to the ways in which industrial arts meld into people’s daily lives, such as eating, wearing clothes and using office equipment.
This year the focus is on the use of crafts. Event organizers are promoting a worldwide renaissance in craft-making.
“Crafts have been mainly focused on the aesthetics of display, such as ceramic vases or glassware. But this biennial hopes to bring innovation to crafts by shedding light on ordinary objects such as utensils, umbrella stands and door knobs,” says Choi Gong-ho, head of the organizing committee.
The show will feature a medley of art exhibits from both domestic and foreign artists, craft-making contests. A selection of works will be arranged outdoors.
While the event is expected to draw professional craftsmen from the world over, amateurs are also invited to participate, and even create their own masterpieces.
In all, more than 3,000 items from 42 countries, including the United States, Germany, Uruguay and China, will be on display. The range of crafts includes glassware, paper, textiles, woodwork and metalworks.
The host city claims some fame of its own in the crafts world. Heungdeuksa temple is known as the site of one of the world’s earliest metal-type printing presses. Dating to 1377, it predates the famous Gutenberg printing press of by about 70 years.
At the festival, visitors can participate in crafts classes and an auction. A street parade, a concert in the woods and a musical will also be performed during the festival’s run.
For out-of-towners, other attractions in the vicinity of this city 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of Seoul are Chojeong Mineral Water Springs and Chungnamdae, the president’s vacation home, which was only recently opened to public viewing.
Tickets are 6,000 won ($5), 3,000 won for children. Tickets are sold at a discount if bought through www.ticketpark.com. For more information, call (043) 277-2503 or visitwww.cheongjubiennale.or.kr.
by Choi Jie-ho
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