Ottchil paintings are precious since the process takes patience and devotion to complete and it’s such a time-consuming technique.
The attractions of Ottchil
Ott(Natural lacquer) is so versatile that even it seems to be alive sometimes. It requires a specific drying condition, and in this stage, it needs to be in the mild temperature which is between 25~28 Celsius with above 60% of humidity. So, if you try to dry the Ottchil paintings under scorching hot weather with dry condition like in deserts, the paintings will not dry forever. This paint only reveals its thick and deep color when it’s fully dried under certain conditions and after certain amount of dehydration period. That’s why I call Ottchill paint as ‘alive’. Therefore, Ottchil is a process that takes extra cares and affections toward the lacquer itself. When you’re under the spell of Ottchil and start to get it on your skin, you would suffer from lacquer poisoning for a while. However, it’s hard to get yourself out of the magic of Ottchil even with those tricky traits to handle.
The definition of Ottchil
‘Ott’ is a Korean word for resin from lacquer trees. And Ottchil(lacquering) means applying Ott on certain base materials after works of purification and processing the resin.
The lacquer is a difficult material to collect from trees and handle. To produce the paint itself, it involves a hassle of process and time-requiring, and there is a limit to produce it by season. On top of that, there are multiple steps of purification that cause the paint expensive. Comparing it to other types of paints, it costs more and more delicate to work with that only can the experienced manually do properly.
Ott in Korea
Korean ancestors had used Ott as a traditional herbal medicine, and people made a chicken soup with it to enhance virility. Only Korea consumes Ott among the countries that naturally grow lacquer trees. Maybe that is why there is even a traditional method to collect resin from the branches of the timbers, so-called ‘Hwachil’. And the method has been descended down the generations until now.