wet feet

Decided to make some waraji (Japanese woven straw zorries) because I want new zorries NOW and there’s no Korean instructional videos for jipshin (Korean woven straw shoes) on youtube like there are for the waraji.

This is because the regular flip-flops always give me blisters, the awesome tough black PU platform ones I have have ribbon thongs which have quickly come to smell like year old sneakers.  (Unfortunately, that is the only place on my body where I sweat)  So what the hell, I’m in Asia, I’ll weave my own, damnit!

This idea was inspired by my daughter’s cloth ones she ordered, made of scraps.  Unfortunately, its’s damned near impossible to find a fabric store in Korea and I haven’t the constitution to take on the football-field length of Dongdaemun’s fabric market just to get fabric I’m going to walk on.  I ended up buying some second hand clothes I’m going to rip up instead.  But that’s for later.

Right now, I need zorries to wear outside:  something more robust than fabric.  I went to the hardware store and found some rope, but all they had was the plastic kind.  I asked if they had any natural (some Koreans know what that word is) ropuh and they didn’t understand, so I had to ask for ahn PVC. (they call all plastic PVC, except plastic bags, which they call vinyl – I have no idea what they call vinyl!)  and the answer was anniyo.  In a land of rice fields, in a place full of rice  paddies, there’s no straw rope!  Well, OK, straw would rot soon enough in these monsoons anyways.  Hopefully I can take a jipshin-making class in the fall, after rice harvest.

So here is the result!

synthetic materials + cute kitty - (note the shower curtain covering my mattress)

and the aftermath of ignoring cute kitty…

That WAS a plant in the window...


Have to psyche myself up to make the other foot…  As you can see, my life’s a little different now that I have this cute, cute kitty…

Ooooooh God, I’m just laughing hysterically, in tears right now! Kitty is sleeping peacefully, resting up for her midnight foot attack…

9 thoughts on “wet feet

  1. Gosh you are so talented, the sandal looks awesome. as for straw rope, i believe you have to make your own.

  2. unfortunately some of the traditional arts and craft is slowly diappearing in modern korea because of lack of monetary compensation. there was a 5 part series on kbs that documented a straw artist’s stuggle in modern korea because he could not sell his pieces. quite sad.

  3. They DO have some lessons for foreigners somewhere, but I’d have to look into it again. I went to a stupid foreigner event to get some free jipshin one time, but the straw was so dry they broke when I tried them on.

    That’s sad about the straw artist. I’ve seen several things made of straw that I’d like to own or make – especially the bags and hats…

    I do enjoy the KBS documentaries, but I can’t stand the dramas, comedies, and reality tv shows. And of course there’s no way I read any programming schedules IF I can find them.

  4. I have seen some incredible work using straws a full size tiger, cow, and of course many items used by korean in the old days. The sad thing is that the artist is old and he wants an apprentice badly to carry on his work but there has been no takers. Once he dies there will be one less of that type of artist in korea and if something is not done, straw work will become a forgotton art in korea. this is an area where koreans should learn from the japanese.

  5. Man, I wish I knew that straw artist’s name last year…I might have stayed here for that…I would stay if an intangible asset would take me on as an apprentice.

    Don’t feel bad about conceding credit where credit’s due. Many Koreans I’ve spoken to have said Japan and Japanese are cleaner. I found that hard to believe, but further discussion brought out that they were talking about natural aesthetics. I haven’t been to Japan, but studied it a lot in Architecture school, and I have to say from what I’ve been exposed to they are totally right. Korea’s a cluttered place with little regard to making things contextually harmonious.

    But then again, I find Korean folk architecture to be much more part of the landscape and spiritually evocative without all the self-consciousness of Japanese architecture. And many people don’t realize that the iconic Japanese teahouse was always a contrived space, much like Marie Antoinette’s country cottages…

    But Gosh, Korea, clean up your yards! put some thought into how you arrange your plantings! organize your trash areas! Stop using clashing colors in your paving! Make your new brick patterns so they complement the neighbors’! Stop littering!

  6. what is interesting is that korean art is sought-after in japan for its unpretentious style. but this makes sense to me because it can be argue that korea is japan’s motherland when comes to culture and art.

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