Sys­tem­atic support for the craft in­dus­try

JoongAng Daily - - Front Page -

Crafts­man­ship is one of the barom­e­ters of a coun­try’s cul­tural stan­dards. The value of craft is prized in a cul­tur­ally so­phis­ti­cated coun­try un­der gov­ern­ment pro­tec­tion and support. Italy highly prizes the art of crafts­man­ship as its val­ued tra­di­tion and has na­tional-level net­works and support sys­tems to keep the pres­ti­gious name of Made-in-Italy alive. Ja­pan runs cen­ters and train­ing in­sti­tutes to up­hold tra­di­tional master craft work.

What about us? Ac­cord­ing to the “Craft In­dus­try Survey” in 2013, busi­nesses of less than two em­ploy­ees take up 70 per­cent of the in­dus­try of skilled craft. Self-em­ployed busi­nesses ac­count for more than 90 per­cent. Most crafts­men work in their small work­shops. Few have net­works be­cause they mostly work in­di­vid­u­ally. They painstak­ingly main­tain the tra­di­tion in their art amid lit­tle in­ter­est and support.

Mar­ket­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion and sales are nat­u­rally un­der­de­vel­oped. Mass-pro­duc­tion is dif­fi­cult for work that re­quires del­i­cate manned skills. Man­u­fac­tur­ing has been sim­pli­fied with the help of com­put­ers and au­to­ma­tion, but craft work still usu­ally re­quires the ar­ti­san’s own la­bor in­put, mak­ing re­tail­ing dif­fi­cult.

Korean crafts­man­ship is well known for its del­i­cacy and de­tails. Korean ar­ti­facts and craft works are popular in var­i­ous col­lec­tion mar­kets and ma­jor ex­po­si­tions like the Mai­son & Ob­ject, the French in­ter­na­tional trade fair for life­style fash­ions and trends. We need more sys­tem­atic support and net­work­ing to de­velop the craft in­dus­try. Vi­tal­ity in the craft in­dus­try could not only help up­grade our life stan­dards, but also eco­nomic growth. The world craft mar­ket gen­er­ates rev­enue of 110 tril­lion won. But lo­cal in­dus­try has an­nual rev­enue of 900 bil­lion won.

Many ar­ti­sans and crafts­men are work­ing in their work­shops to pro­duce new and bet­ter ar­ti­facts. To make them a part of our daily lives, we not only need at­ten­tion and support from the gov­ern­ment, but also from gen­eral pub­lic. Many Kore­ans are now in­ter­ested in re­mote and undis­cov­ered cul­tures. But we should also pay at­ten­tion to our own tra­di­tion and craft so that they can serve as the faces of our cul­ture and art.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Korea, Republic

© PressReader. All rights reserved.