Wednesday, March 04, 2009

P.S. about fieldwork

Turns out that I missed my window for my most important fieldwork: visiting truly traditional hanji makers who only work in the winter. They've already wrapped up for the season. This morning I talked to Bo Kyung of FIDES, and they already visited the one place I wanted to visit. I called today, and he said that there's no point in going b/c it would just be an empty mill, but we had a good conversation. In the end, though I'm sorry to have missed it (especially since I was fully aware of the traditional season), I also realize that I got what I needed in January, and that now I understand why it would have been hard to appreciate this other mill if I didn't have my apprenticeship.

I also see how far I've gotten in my Korean skills: I had an artist friend call this mill in the summer b/c I was so unconfident about my verbal ability. He said that they didn't accept visitors, so I had put it aside. All the sites do that: they refuse you, and then you have to find another way in. This is how it has worked for me every time. So that's part of the learning curve. At least I don't have to do a last-minute trek into the deep countryside tomorrow! And I emailed him my research images/videos to date, which again reminds me how far I've come: composing missives and touch typing in Korean.

I just need to move forward with the mindset that I am fully in the hands-on research phase, and that I can ditch the fieldwork (with the exception of visiting the paper museum ... but there is no rush on that).

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