Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Taxes cramp my style

This year is a doozy. I have gone from the bracket of destitute poverty / it's a wonder I even chose to file to poor enough to be punished / I have to file in three states?? As I avoid looking at the instructions for State #1, I am taking a break to make some clarifications.

I had noticed that one of my photos was used for a blog post early this year, and then that was recycled into another post at another blog. All very nice, but in my taxes frustration, I wanted to clarify what I find confusing in the content on all of these sites. There is apparently a company in France that makes objects that they base on 'ancient Korean tradition. But when I look at what they are actually doing, it's not really based on jiseung at all. In the loosest sense, sure, they are manipulating paper cord. But their cord is clearly not handmade, and it's continuous stuff, which is not how jiseung works. I think some confusion comes from the language we use, which is so often inadequate. I started to call jiseung "paper weaving" early on, but later realized that it confused people with loom weaving. It's technically twining, but includes more than that, and is quite close to basketry. Some of this confusion comes from me not being any kind of expert in either loom weaving or basketry, and also from learning a craft from scratch in Korean rather than in English.

The other thing that is hard for me to figure out how to untangle is the name of jiseung. I called it that from the start in Korea, but slowly was told by my teacher to call it by its formal name, noyeokgae. Well, I think the first is hard enough for English-speaking tongues, but the latter just takes people over the edge. But the argument is that the former comes from Japanese, and for the generation I was studying from, giving Japan any more credit than it has supposedly stolen from Korea is a big oversight. I haven't yet figured out how to make these changes in my teaching, or in my manuscript, but I think about it a lot and would rather grapple with it a million times over before spending days in a row on taxes.

The silver lining? Last night, I was so cranked up on crankiness that I got out of bed to work on a new book. It's actually a new/old book. Too early to shoot or tell, but I think I'll finally be able to finish it once I get the time.

1 comment:

  1. yay, the upside of taxes! a book!
    i think the hardest thing is that you come from paper making to "basketry". if you started at basketry and traveled to papermaking your vocab/understanding might be different. and the other site? well, the pieces are lovely, beautifully "styled" but a million miles from your amazing "chamber pot"


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