We took a nearly two hour bus ride to the city of Cheongu where we spent the day at the 10th Cheongju Craft Biennale.
A number of countries presented exhibitions in this two-story industrial building. We were given a personal tour as an introduction to the exhibits. I was not excited by this work. I’m open to all types of art, funky or elegant, a message or not. Here’s an example, which you may like or not.
But I’m happy to say, there was so much to like the rest the day spent largely on my own. I went back more than once to study many interesting and intriguing pieces in all styles and types of fiber. Germany had an wonderful haute couture presentation by several clothing designers similar to what we see on Project Runway–if you happen to be a fan like me.
The “beads” in this detail image reminds me of the buttons I made from painted paper and PVA glue in London City and Guilds. They remind me I should go back and explore them some more.
Next up was Finland. I find the arrangement of the varying shapes of this hanging fascinating as well as how they are placed “forward and backwards” so the hanging can be viewed from both sides.
And I love the humor and funky nature of these slippers. That they are cross-stitched is even better, as we often think of cross-stitch in traditional samplers rather than contemporary shoe wear.
This next piece aptly titled “Surf” for its soft ripples is wood. I wanted to stroke my fingers across the waves, it looked so silky soft.
Another strong pair of fiber art were digital transfer landscapes. Both contained raw edges and gave the effect of aging.
Singapore exhibited an intricately carved “scroll.” One of our participants, Ping Ting, was from Singapore, so it was great to see craft from her country. While wood may not be fiber per se, it has a similarity to fabric with both having a grain and texture. And don’t forget the adage that applies to both, measure twice, cut once!
By way of explanation, The three century-old Hokkien Temples of Singapore are embedded with various design elements of traditional Chinese culture created through techniques of drawing, carving, and sculpturing. This piece pays homage to the temples and their symbols. You can get a sense of how long the piece is from this photo.
I was fascinated and more than impressed with the intricate carving of these buildings. Wow!
Surprisingly, the text is in English.
Apparently, Switzerland wanted to make sure visitors knew which country “they were in.” Not the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen. In fact, it looks otherworldly.
This first wall hanging is not fiber, although as it’s held together by string or cord, it’s almost qualifies. I’m not sure if the motifs are ceramic or cast plaster, but I loved it.
I really admired this next wall hanging, definitely fiber, looks like crochet, the first needlework I ever learned, thanks to my mother. I liked it so much there are two detail images. Don’t you love the cast shadows and the repetition they added to the piece?
Another fiber piece from Switzerland is an interesting machine-stitched piece, reminding me of a spider web.
Italy had no fiber art, but I liked these mosaic pieces, which seemed an obvious craft for this country’s exhibit. When we think of Italy, who doesn’t think of the mosaics found in St. Mark’s Square, cathedral floors, and many other buildings. Plus, I could easily imagine these pieces done in fiber in many techniques.
Mongolia had two installations I appreciated, because they imbued the country’s culture. Much of the population of Mongolia is nomadic. When I saw these stirrups, I immediately thought of horsemen galloping across the countryside. And I thought the stirrups were beautifully presented and lit.
This next piece is titled “Home.” This was another piece whose cast shadows added so much to the presentation. I really felt as if whomever hung so many of these exhibits was thoughtful in determining the best way to display them.
This is the one exhibit from England I admired. It looks ethereal, but it’s porcelain. The piece has the hard-soft effect of the wall hanging above from Switzerland.
The home country, Korea, had a rather intellectual exhibition focused on measurements. There was also just one exhibit that attracted me. The color placement, texture, and negative spaces were fascinating to ponder.
Last but not least was one floor devoted to art installations.
This one was my favorite installation: netting with lights. Sounds simple but oh so effective. Viewers loved the interactive nature of the artwork. Notice how much the change of lighting color affects the feeling of the piece and how it draws viewers in to become a part of the piece.
Note how the topographical lines on the carpet affect the drama of the artwork.