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K-craft going global; five S. Korean craft makers selected for Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Updated: 2020-11-25 10:08:11 KST

Craftwork is the latest Korean cultural export to get global attention.
The Loewe Foundation hands out an annual prize to award "excellence and innovation in modern craftsmanship."
From around three-thousand entries from around the world, just 30 finalists were selected and five of them were from South Korea.
The Financial Times newspaper took interest in this and shed light on what it called the "international march of Korean craft makers."
One of finalists - Cho Sungho says being selected as one of the final thirty means a lot to him as the Loewe craft prize is the most renowned handicraft competition in the world.
This year was Cho's first time to submit his piece, and he came up with an innovative idea.

"Objects made by casting metal, they are usually thick and heavy like bells. I've long been very interested in casting and I wanted to make it thin. I made a thin panel-wax with soft wax and an engraved pattern on that."

Cho's series of exquisite, airy vessels with intricate patterns etched on the surface demonstrate new possibilities in casting metal.
He believes the reason behind the global attention towards Korean craft makers is mainly because of their superior technique, along with positive influence of other sectors such as K-pop.

"Koreans are very dexterous and have impressive workmanship. I also believe the interest in K-pop has expanded to craft which was not well-known compared to works from Japan and China."

Another finalist Kim Kyeok's work is a web-like sculpture delicately crocheted by copper wire and finished with gold leaf.
She says the world has steadily been paying attention to Korea's craft, and now it is reaching its peak.

"The Loewe Foundation is from Spain, and I heard lots of exhibitions introducing Korean traditional craft are being held these days. I was able to feel how our craft is being recognized in Europe and the US."

Such work requires delicate skill and craftsmanship, and South Korean craft makers with both are pushing back the frontiers of Korean culture.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News.
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