Photography offered by KNITSTER
Please introduce us about ‘Knister'.
Knitser is a brand that creates familiar crafts design products in life with the motto 'familiarity creates new value'. Starting in 2013, we are extending the scope of our work as a textile based on material testing using various textile techniques such as traditional knots and sewing techniques. Knitser creates handmade objects in hopes of creating a valuable warmth in your life.
How and why did you decide to start Knitser?
The reason why I started using the name 'Knitser' is because, in order for my products to go into the market, you need a business license. In my case, my products needed to enter physical stores to sell, so I had to apply for business license, and since I was too shy to use my own name for the business, I decided to use 'Knitser', meaning 'The woman who knits'. Luckily, my brand was selected as 'Traditional crafts design of the year' at KCDF in 2014, and from then on I had many chances to sell my products in other countries all over the world. Accordingly, I was able to expand my sales line in Korea in various ways.
Do you think you were born with manual dexterity?
I think I used to like to make something all the time(haha).
What does 'color' mean to you as a designer? (Object of expression).
Color for me, is a joy itself. You know there are always somethings that make each people happy in their own ways. For me, that is color. Especially when I look at the arrangement of primary colors, my eyes and heart feels fulfilled and gives me joy. I never studied colors academically like colorists, but I think treating colors are one of the instinct sense of a human. I held an individual exhibition earlier this year and the title of the exhibit was 'objet_play of five cardinal colors' and I put up a phrase on the wall there saying 'color is an object of expression and healing. Shape is premeditated when color is impulsive. Color is not acquired, but it is felt by feeling.' It's a little long but these are what I feel when I work on my crafts. So I deal with colors in a hope that other people who looks at my selection/coordination of colors and feel this joy that I felt when I created them.
What would be the pros and cons of using climbing rope as a material, not a general knitting yarn?
Oh, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages. To talk about those general knitting yarn, once it's stretched, it never comes back to its original form. It's less durable and it doesn't fit in all of the four seasons of the year. On the other hand, the greatest advantage is that climbing rope is resilient, and it's not affected by four seasons. Like most of textile objet, it's easily exposed to pollution while climbing rope can be washed by water. However, the biggest drawback is that the weight of the product itself is relative to the actual surface of the area. I'm kind of sad that there are limitation to its size that we can create as a bag. So the products that we created after, we decided to use zigzag sewing which could reduce the weight much lighter compare to its area.
It seems like you really create crafts with a broad spectrum. Could you please tell us five of your favorite crafts and why you like them?
There are Handring bag and K-clutch that are my favorite among the bag series, and I like the Zigzag sewing light. Handring bag is one of the most selling bag in my brand as well. There are many bags with handring and bag with pompom decoration nowadays, but back in 2014 when our design was first introduced, I was told that the design and the materials I used were very very unique. I put a lot of thoughts and hardworks into these bags in its portion, shape and material, and handring bag shows the advantages. The K-clutch is a bag that is a reinterpretation of the traditional knot in a modern way. It is a work that was selected as a KCDF star product in 2014, and it is a product which means a lot to me since it was also sold as a collection in the French decorative art museum. Zig Zag sewing light was created after I went to Paris' Boisbuchet Workshop at the Bitra Museum during my methodical material experiment to overcome the obstacles to the weight of the climbing rope. I came back to Korea and experimented with the formal method for a year and zigzag sweing light was the result. I like this product a lot because it started the scalability of what I’m working at currently, eventhough it really needs a lot of craftsmanship by hands when producing.
When you are creating and designing your products, what are the factors that you treat importantly?
I think that the works I do are crafty design objects that have an artististic tendency, so I think character casting and differentiation are important when making a product. I still have a lot of worries about positioning, but I think that the objects of the Knitster are different from the consumer market that deals with necessities. I think there is a concept in the craft that consumers are collectors rather than instant consumption of goods. So I think that I see a lot of people trying to look into the stories behind the products that the designer put in when they are purchasing the goods. If the design product emphasizes pragmatic needs, I tend to add my thoughts on how to work and how to make it, and I think I give my character more into the object.
Could you explain us more about a slogan of your brand ‘Familiar slowness creates newness and value’?
I'm talking about the process of handmade work that is ‘familiar slowness’. I thought the process of making something with our already familiar hands were ‘slow to get used to’. "The value of the hand = the familiar slow". It's the slogan that marks the brand's direction to create a new object based on a crafted craftsmanship that creates something with hands and create valuable movement.
What are you interested in lately?
I am interested in methodological research. I am especially focused on researching new materials and techniques. I used to think that I had to make output unconditionally in the old days, but nowadays I think that there is a way to think about how to make content in a new way. If you only have a content, the output for it is endless. Among the recent images, I was interested in the production process of the Polyplus Factory, which made objects like cotton candy by putting plastic raw materials into cotton candy machines.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?
I am interested in various fields. So, depending on the keyword you are stuck on, you can display images sporadically, see exhibits, and see magazines and articles. And I collect names, images, and articles that I think are okay. And I put a comment on why I thought it was okay. It is quite helpful to get new ideas and inspiration by opening the file once sporadically.
What are your plans for the future?
This year we are working on a new project called Tropical Dreamming. In addition, there are five individual and group works scheduled. Personally, I have made various attempts in the designing and crafting. It is a big goal to keep my balance as a designer in the art market while operating the brand as an artist of a living products. And I plan to use the fiber rope that I use to systematically archive what I have experimented on various material techniques and at the end, create a work book.