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On the Map 2021, #5 Jimin Kim & 8991haus

This is a story about Jimin Kim's indigo journey and his indigo sanctuary "8991haus" in Dangjin, South Korea. Jimin and I met for the first time about 6 years ago in Brooklyn, New York. He visited the Japanese traditional indigo dye studio where I was working as a studio assistant at that time. I explained to him about the Sukumo indigo dye process and demonstrated how to dye a piece of cotton fabric.

In return, Jimin handed over a copy of the book called "the Dyer (염색장)" about the Korean traditional indigo dye process published by the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (國立文化財硏究所, 국립문화재 연구소) in South Korea. I am very delighted to share one of my special indigo peer's indigo journey, creativity, and his space 8991haus.

1. Address / Location

All photos were submitted by Jimin Kim

I reside and grow jjok (Polygonum tinctorium) in Dangjin-si. Dangjin-si is a city in the South Chungcheong Province in South Korea. My indigo farm is surrounded by pig and cow farms; I get manure from them for my indigo. I usually mix manure into the soil to prepare for the farming process when spring comes.

충청남도 당진 에서 거주하며 쪽 농사를 짓고 있습니다. 쪽농사를 짓는 밭 주위에는 돼지& 소 농장들이 있어 겨울이 지나 봄이 되면 퇴비를 받아 밭에 뿌려 줍니다.

2. Indigo Plants & Practice

The name of the indigo plant I grow is called jjok in the Korean language. Polygonum tinctorium is its scientific name. I harvest indigo plants twice a year on my 0.3-acre jjok farm. I used to dye cotton fabrics when I just started practicing natural indigo dying. These days, I got into dyeing wood or hard items with indigo to gain more experience in experimenting with materials. My indigo farm is around two minutes away from 8991haus by car. Every process that is required for indigo farming and dyeing, such as dyeing, extracting indigo pigments, seedling, has all been practiced in this studio. All the creative experimental indigo dyeing is practiced in my studio, 8991haus.

쪽을 기르고 있으며, 400평 남짓한 밭에 2모작을 하고 있습니다.

초기에 염색을 할때는 면직물 위주로 하였습니다. 하지만 지금은 염색의 한계는 피염물의 제한이라고 생각하여 나무, 혹은 경도가 더 단단한것들에 염색을 하고 경험을 쌓고 있습니다.

밭은 차로 2분 정도에 거리에 떨어져 있지만, 염색 및 니람 건조 작업, 모종기르기 등 밭작업 외에 모든 작업은 8991haus에서 진행되고 있습니다.

About 8991haus:

8991haus is an old family house that I used to live in when I was young. It may look like an old rundown structure for others, but the house provides me such a valuable space, and being able to do indigo dye itself is so inevitably valuable. There isn’t a particular reason why I chose the name 8991haus. I just cited the zip code of my family house 899-1. Although sometimes it is at times challenging dyeing with indigo at 8991haus due to the old structure and layout, I still feel very satisfied with doing the process in this space.

8991하우스에 대하여:

작업실 이름을 8991haus라고 정하는데 별다른 어려움은 없었습니다. 작업실 위치 구 주소가 899-1번지여서 번지수를 그대로 인용하였습니다. 염색을 위해 지어진 구조가 아니여서 작업하다 보면 힘든점이 있지만 그 또한 저에게는 행복입니다.

3. Language

Hangul is the writing system of the Korean language and it has been used in daily life. It is our own alphabet, not influenced by any Roman alphabet system. Although we have our own rich culture, it has been destroyed and forgotten by many Korean people due to the many times of war my country has experienced in the past. Most people don’t connect a dot between blue hands and the indigo dye as indigo isn’t considered a major part of the culture here. The traditional indigo dye was temporarily extinct after the Korean War in the 1950s.

Its revitalization has been from many people’s ongoing efforts to bring it back and continue its traditions to this day.

한국에는 한글이 있습니다. 여러 영어권 나라와 달리 한국은 독자적인 언어를 가지고 있습니다. 한글처럼 한국의 고유의 문화양식이 많이 있습니다. 하지만 안타깝게도 여러차례 전쟁으로 인해 여러문화는 대중들에게 잊혀져 가고 사려졌습니다. 주류와 비주류를 나누는 기준은 사람마다 다르겠지만, 대부분의 사람은 파랗게 물든 손을 보며 쪽 염색과 연관을 짓지 못합니다. 관심사의 차이도 있겠지만, 쪽염색은 중심문화로서 자리 매김 보다는 주변문화에 자리 잡고 있습니다. 한국 전쟁으로 끊겼던 쪽염색은 많은 분들의 열정으로 인해 다시 재연되었고 지금까지 이어 나가고 있습니다.

Jimin Kim & 8991Haus: Instagram here

Click here to see Jimin's 8991haus on the Map!


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