In the Culture Factory, a converted tobacco factory in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, the 40-day Cheongju Craft Biennale opened on Wednesday under the theme "Tools of Conviviality".
Organizers say the pandemic made it tough to invite overseas artists and bring in artwork from abroad.
But they believe it is the right time to introduce craft in-depth as its own nature-friendly characteristics remind us of the importance of nature and the environment.
"Natural materials are used for crafts, and once made, they are used for a long time. In terms of sustainability, crafts might help people realize how much they are used to consuming and disposing single-use things.
One craftsman only uses sticks she grows herself to make baskets,… and another who won this year's Cheongju International Craft Competition uses horsehair.
"It's just a strand of hair, but when stitched together, it becomes a solid structure. It takes a lot of time to make such forms and I learned such daily diligence is the most important attitude in life."
"The highlight of the biennale is an exhibit by an Indonesian artist titled 'Into the Abyss'. The artist used knitted sea creatures to recreate Indonesia's coral reefs, letting visitors think about the gloomy reality they are facing."
The coral reefs that are vital for the marine ecosystem are dying out,… and through the simple craft technique of crocheting and knitting, the artist conveyed the severity of the matter.
The process of making the artwork also gave women in the local community a way to support themselves.
"Life is about sharing, it is beautiful to share our knowledge and ability. We are in social lives, we have to take care of each other."
In the words of the Belgian craftsman Piet Stockmans, who brought his porcelain art to the Culture Factory, "everything can be craft though categories may differ."
With such a notion, the craft biennale's significant messages are inspiring visitors.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News, Cheongju.