I run past an old traditional kiln regularly, some 20 metres long and sloping from one end to the other. There was one working at today’s Onggi festival in Mureung-ri, just a short drive from Global Education City. The festival promotes and celebrates the traditional Jeju way of making pottery and the word ‘onggi’ refers to the cooperative character of the process.
Inside a covered working area, the experts were showing visitors how to work the clay and how to create the pots and dishes, building up a collection ready to be fired. Outside, a three-year old kiln constructed from volcanic stone and earth was being prepared. This doesn’t look high tech but it’s a tradition that really does look worth preserving, part of Jeju’s heritage.
And an example of the finished product – plain, simple and beautiful to look at.