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Posted November 4 , 2013

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Ted Talks

Dong Woo Jang: The art of bow-making

Dong Woo Jang has an unusual after school hobby. Jang, who was 15 when he gave the talk, tells the story of how living in the concrete jungle of Seoul inspired him to build the perfect bow. Watch him demo one of his beautiful hand-crafted archer's bows.

Dong Woo Jang turns an unusual stick of bamboo into an archer’s bow, an exploration of his cultural heritage and a metaphor for his perfect world.

His parents wouldn’t let him play video games, so Dong Woo Jang had to invent other ways to entertain himself in and around his Seoul apartment. First, he studied spider anatomy and hunting skills for three years, creating their habitat in his room. Next, Dong headed outside, where he picked up fallen tree branches and turned them into archery bows.

Later, while researching the age-old craft, he discovered that his optimal design was strikingly similar to that of his ancestors. Though he concedes that, during his process of “fixing, breaking, redesigning, mending, bending, and amending” bows, he accidently set his building on fire. The 15-year-old says that working with wood -- and traveling back and forth in time -- makes him feel free.

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