“All that’s outdated just isn’t good. Nevertheless, there may be worth to be present in issues that final.”
— Man-gi Park, Conventional Korean Handicraft “Ottchil” Artisan
The basement studio of Man-gi Park options quite a few conventional Najeonchilgi masterpieces. Najeonchilgi refers to things completed with Ottchil1 and inlaid with Najeon (mother-of-pearl, varied colourful and vibrant items of shellfish). Najeonchilgi require extremely intricate designs and excessive ranges of expertise at every technique of manufacturing — from constructing the bottom product to making use of quite a few layers of pure lacquer to adorning the façade with small items of shellfish — and are thus thought-about high-quality items of conventional artwork.
Man-gi is a graduate of Chiljang (lacquerware making), Korean Nationwide Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 113, and is taken into account probably the greatest in his craft. Additionally discovered on this studio is a 32-year-old dehumidifier from Samsung Electronics. Samsung Newsroom sat down with Man-gi Park to be taught in regards to the seemingly unlikely partnership between a dehumidifier and an artisan that has grown during the last three many years.
Park’s approach as a conventional ottchil craftsman differs from fashionable lacquer strategies. Whereas different varieties of lacquer are dried by making use of warmth, ottchil is utilized in layers which are subsequently dried at a particular humidity degree — making the meticulous course of extraordinarily time consuming. As such, controlling the humidity in an ottchil studio is important — any situation wanting optimum can hinder the drying course of. To create an acceptable atmosphere, Park has been utilizing the identical Samsung dehumidifier for the previous 32 years, permitting him to proceed making lovely items and hold the standard Korean craft alive.
A Technological Answer for a Conventional Artist
Park discovered his present workspace within the midst of his profession. Nevertheless, he quickly found the excessive humidity can be problematic for ottchil and looked for an answer to take care of a great crafting atmosphere.
“I acquired this studio in 1990, however the humidity is excessive since it’s in a basement. On the time, I attempted all the things to decrease it with little success,” stated Park.
Situations which are too dry or moist will inhibit the ottchil piece from drying appropriately, which means that humidity ranges should be tightly regulated.
“Ottchil can solely be produced in an atmosphere the place humidity is saved at an optimum degree of roughly 60%. When the humidity exceeds 80% in the summertime, the ottchil ‘burns’ and loses its gloss. When humidity is simply too low within the winter, the ottchil doesn’t dry correctly. Manufacturing is tough as a result of it’s unimaginable to offer the ottchil product its attribute shine till the lacquer correctly dries. Up to now, I attempted turning on a range and working a heater to take away moisture however nothing labored,” defined Park.
On dry winter days, Park manually regulated the humidity by spraying water contained in the studio. Nevertheless, when humidity spiked in the course of the summer season, regulating indoor circumstances grew to become almost unimaginable for the craftsman.
After numerous strategies to manually regulate humidity, Park turned to know-how. Upon discovering that Samsung had launched its personal dehumidifier, Park went to Yongsan Electronics Market, a wholesale equipment and system market in Seoul, to test it out.
“After studying the product dehumidifies the air, I had excessive expectations. At first, I used to be shocked by the nice and cozy air that was emitted. I believed ‘Huh? This shouldn’t be emitting heat air,’” he stated. “However after working it for some time, I seen that the system successfully captured moisture and controlled the humidity within the basement studio. I keep in mind the second I first realized ‘that is going to work!’ I used to be impressed and thrilled on the identical time. I’ve saved my Samsung dehumidifier, ever since.”
Samsung Dehumidifier: The Craftsman’s Most-Prized Software
The connection between Park and his first Samsung dehumidifier appears to be greater than mere possession. “There’s this expression referred to as ‘well-thumbed,’” stated Park. “It means you’re comfy utilizing the product, you understand the product properly since you’ve been utilizing it for a very long time. There isn’t any substitute for this type of affection.”
Because the dehumidifier has been by his facet for many years, Park can not envision his workspace with out it. “I’m completely satisfied that the unit has labored for therefore lengthy,” he stated. “Yearly, I categorical my gratitude to the machine and say, ‘Due to you, one other summer season has handed by easily.’ It’s extra of a companion.”
Because the dehumidifier has been by his facet for 32 years, Park is an skilled — understanding all the things from how the system runs to the care wanted to take care of its efficiency.
“Avoiding something that may pressure the product is important. I attempt to not tilt it to keep away from damaging the three decade-old compressor. It’s additionally necessary to scrub it and retailer it correctly as soon as the summer season is over,” defined Park.
Through the years, Park bought different fashions of Samsung dehumidifiers and at the moment owns 4 items — together with the 32 year-old “ancestor” dehumidifier — which are all working in peak situation.
One thing Outdated and One thing New: A Highly effective Dehumidifier for Years To Come
Going ahead, Park hopes to maintain his “ancestor” dehumidifier in high situation — emphasizing the worth it brings to his studio and his items.
“All that’s outdated just isn’t good. Nevertheless, there may be worth to be present in issues that final,” stated Park. “For my merchandise, my philosophy is that they need to retain their worth after a decade, after which a century. As for my dehumidifier, it has helped me create the very best items and has change into an integral a part of my life. I hope to maintain crafting items to the very best of my capability with my dehumidifier companion by my facet for so long as I can, whether or not that’s 10 years or 100.”
1 Ottchil (pure lacquering), a technique of conventional Korean handicraft, entails the applying of colour to dishware, furnishings and different objects utilizing pure lacquer extracted from ott (the refined sap, or ott, of rhus bushes). Ottchil is thought to assist merchandise higher endure humidity, whereas giving it a deep, distinct colour and shine. Whereas public curiosity in ottchil has diminished with the event of artificial lacquer, the custom is saved alive immediately by craftsmen like Park.