|▲ Rice straw craft master / Kim Jun-hwan|
Rice straws are stems left after threshing. People in the past used rice straws to make various things such as shoes, hats, baskets and raincoats or used to cover the roof of the house. Today, these things are hard to see. But there are people who use rice straws to make handicrafts.
Kim Jun-hwan aka Doam is famous for rice straw handicraft and is a first-class certificate holder. He has won numerous prizes including ministerial prize at Grand Art Exhibition of Busan, grand prize at Honam Culture and Art Festival Busan, and gold prize from Korea Culture & Art Promotion Society. He appeared on KBS2 Live Infor Show and SBS How Is That Possible and people started to recognize him. He also has served as a judge of Korea Master Artist Exhibition.
Kim was born and grew up in a small village around Oseo Mountain in Hongseong County. He inherited dexterity from his father and helped him make things with rice straws since childhood. As the family was hard to get by every day, he settled in the down town in an effort to add bread and butter when he grew up. He spent some time in Seoul working in craft industry and back to the county and got a job at the county office which has been 18 years now. All those years, he has carried on rice straw handicraft.
He made his presence in the field with his rice straw bowls displayed at a sculpture exhibition. The works were chosen for special selection the next year and encouraged by this he went to Asan to take a course and obtained second-class rice straw handicraft certificate. And in 2018, he obtained a first-class. Next year, he made rice straw armor of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and wowed the people by wearing it himself.
Like Steve Jobs emphasized on small detail, Kim is obsessed with meticulousness from beginning to finish. He says works of art come from this attention to detail as well as the maker's devotion of time and effort. He also emphasizes this to his students by saying "making the invisible parts perfect is very important as it is the attitude and pride of the maker."
When asked about the moments of his life, he said "I felt overwhelmed when I walked the runway wearing the rice straw armor of Yi Sun-sin. I also felt proud when I received the excellent artist prize at the Korea Unification Master Artist Exhibition."
Kim believes in living without shame and hates causing harm to others. He hopes that more people will show interest in rice straw crafts and he is always ready to give his skills and knowhow.
"Runway is a good way to promote rice straw craft and I want to engage more often. Korean rice straw craft will one day walk the runway overseas and wow the people with its unique charm."
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