▲ Jaejudojoa hold exhibitions, talks and workshops from their studio Photo by Jaejudojoa
Piles of trash gleaned from the sandy shoreline sit beside a wooden shelter decorated with bunting.
Music plays as craft sessions demonstrate how to transform the junk into jewellery, musical instruments, furniture and other craftwork.
The festival, held by upcycling group Jaejudojoa at Sagye beach on June 11, saw a team of beachcombers of all ages arrive at noon for a beach clean up.
Within two hours, around 20 sackfuls of glass, polystyrene, wood, netting and other bits of rubbish washed up on the coastline had been gathered.
From 2pm the beachcombers, as well as curious passers-by, sat down to try their hand at making colourful crafts from the beach trash.
Chang Hyun Min, of Jeju, was among the beachcombers. He said: “Every weekend I go to the beach. I see the trash on the beach and everyday I am shocked by how much there is.
"I want a clean beach so this is very important. It's not just about gathering trash, it has added an artistic factor. It's a very unique and important movement for the environment."
Rooeez, an upcycling duo individually known as Rooney and Easy, were on hand to demonstrate how to turn the trash into musical instruments.
With the simple aid of a drill to punch holes, they showed how to make flutes from washed-up bamboo poles or an ocarina from a plastic float.
Yoon Yorl Hong, another supporter of the beachcombers movement, said: "We are gathering plastic bottles and rubbish from mostly China. From this rubbish they are making these great artistic crafts.”
It is the second year Jaejudojoa has held the beachcombing sessions. They are held twice yearly - in May, when they run craft sessions directly from the beach, and again in November when people can come to their dedicated studio in Aewol-eup to make the crafts.
The group’s studio is located in a former tangerine factory, in Bongseong-ri, which the team acquired in 2013 after making a successful bid to the Jeju Culture & Art Foundation.
Today Jaejudojoa has grown into a team of six upcyclers - Shin Hwa Jung, Kim Seung Hwan, Yu Rosa, Choi Yun Ah, Cho Won Hu and Kang Min Suk. Together the environmentally-friendly group use their creative skills to add value to waste, transforming them into commercially viable products.
The upcycling initiative was formed when the friends met at Hansu haenyeo diving school in 2012 but were shocked by the amount of trash they found floating with the sealife.
Concerned the coastal region was not receiving the protection it deserved, they came up with an alternative plan which would help the environment and allow them to live and work on the island in a creative and alternative way.
By 2014 they had transformed the site into two workshops, a cafe and exhibition area.
A glance around the studio reveals many of the remarkable items designed by the team of upcyclers - a lamp designed from driftwood, a table fashioned from fishing boxes collected from a nearby port and other intricate craftwork.
Inside one of the studio’s workshops, stacks of soju and beer bottles line the wall waiting to be made into glass jewellery, badges or other decorative items.
The best selling products are sea glass accessories sold as jewellery - items that are small, cheaper, such as rings or earrings. These sell between 10,000-20,000 won.
It takes about a day to prepare the glass for a new product. The glass is cut into shape and placed into an oven to give its shiny finish.
Other glass is placed in a sanding machine to give it the natural, worn finish found on beaches.
Jaejudojoa’s handmade crafts and other items are available to buy in eight shops around Jeju, including The Islander and Arario Museum in Tapdong, 1300K in Jeju City and Lazy Box cafe in Sagye-ri.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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