Gyeongju Meokjang (Master of the ink stick, 경주 먹장)
Making ink sticks requires a laborious process, with a sequence that involves gathering soot → melting glue → mixing the ingredients → forming a dough → pressing the dough into moulding frames → slowly drying → final processing → packaging.
If any one of these steps is done carelessly, the ink is spoiled and cannot be used.
There are only a few places in Korea where ink sticks are still produced, including Daejeon and Gyeongju.
The ink sticks produced by master craftsman Yoo Byung Jo are particularly valued as the highest quality ink sticks in Korea, recognized and appreciated by calligraphers and brush painters in places like Seoul’s Insadong neighborhood.
Although the tradition of making ink sticks in East Asian societies is a unique cultural asset with great historic value, craftsmen possessing this skill are scarce, so this tradition must be handed down and preserved.
Everything has been passed down by his uncles Yoo Jaegeun and Yoo Jonggeun, the first generation of ink stick master craftsmen in Ulsan who hailed from the north, and the skill is now being passed down to Yoo Byung Jo’s son, so a lineage of three generations is assured.
The technique of mixing soot, glue, and scent is the key to the production technique and formulation of traditional ink sticks, and master craftsman Yoo Byung Jo possesses a variety of ink stick fabrication techniques.
And, with activities like developing and patenting the song-yeon ink stick able to be used on a simple glass surface rather than a traditional inkstone, he is devoted to transmitting and advancing the traditional ink stick.
· Address 104, Seondong-gil, Geoncheon-eup, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do· Contact address +82-54-779-6109