Dahye Jeong combines traditional techniques with ancient forms that express the cultural richness and natural beauty of woven fibers. With impressive lightness, flexibility, and geometry, these baskets are woven from fine horsehair by Korean artist Dahye Jeong, who uses the 500-year-old Korean Joseon dynasty technique, traditionally used in Sabanggwan hat-making.
Dahye Jeong: It was in 2017 when I started horsehair crafting. I learned horsehair crafts while participating as an artist in the local craft village development project conducted by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation. Horsehair craft was a nationwide craft field during the Joseon Dynasty, but it is now a craft technology that continues only in Jeju, my hometown. Therefore, I have a sense of mission to protect the end-of-the- Joseon Dynasty craft skills that remain in my hometown.
The Horsehair craft
Dahye Jeong: Horsehair craft is a very valuable craft field with a history of about 500 years in Korea. During the Joseon Dynasty, most of the noblemen wore various hats made of horsehair. The Sabanggwan is a square hat. In addition to the Sabanggwan, various hats such as Manggeon and Tanggeon were made of horsehair. Hats like these are manufactured by winding horsehair around a hook with a needle.
Horsehair is a light fiber. However, when the horsehair is closely woven, it becomes solid three-dimensional – this resembles the direction of my life. I hope my life will be a solid life if I collect a day that I do my best steadily, even if I have a day without much trouble.
Dahye Jeong’s work
Dahye Jeong: My work is very labor-intensive. Weaving horsehair is like practicing. I can’t make it quickly, and if I weave it roughly, the shape is distorted. Making a work was a process of testing my patience and sincerity. This is because I had to pass the time of repetitive labor. This was a time to train me mentally. I always have to make it closely and closely with a consistent mind. This is the same attitude I have in life.
Interview with Dahye Jeong | Photography Dahye Jeong