Michael sent me this image he found, and then I happened upon a set of two videos showing an onggi potter at work, using a kick wheel. The first part is the beginning of the onggi, and in part two, you can see his leg working a little before 6 minutes in. But then upon further inspection, it turned out that the videos were made by Adam Field, who did a 10-month apprenticeship in Korea, about a year before I was there, learning the tradition from the national intangible heritage holder. I couldn't stop watching the videos: the glazing is my favorite, and then the firing, and of course he did a great one of himself in action.
I only stopped to cook dinner once Ben came home. Otherwise I would have watched all of them in one shot, here.
This morning, I read a NYT article on people earning a living off of Etsy and how hard it is. As if it would be easy to operate your own business, doing all production and marketing and distribution and blahhh. But even the title was funny to me, about your hobby being a lot of work. A big reason that traditional crafts are dying out, not just in Korea, but all over the world, is that they ARE all-consuming. It's always back-breaking labor (or eyeball-straining or arthritis-causing or any other kind of crippling), and it takes all of your time and energy, and you don't have much money, and you don't really get to take vacations. No one is interested in that kind of lifestyle anymore; it's too hard for us softies. But I still like to think there can be some kind of balance struck so that the people who still do the work get fully supported so that they don't have to do it and starve, or quit and survive. It kills me, watching the father do the decorations in the wet glaze with his thumbs, b/c it's so simple and deft and beautiful. I'm not saying that everyone has to give up their whole lives and bodies to keep it alive, but maybe just a bunch of people giving something, to keep that sweep of the hand moving.