Holly Thomas 도하리

Chicago, USA
Global Jeju Culture Cooperative Association

Statement of Interest
The Global Youth Culture Forum Jeju 2018 grabbed my interest as I am actively involved in the various communities around Jeju Island and have a strong desire to get involved as much as possible. A friend shared the forum information with me – something I am very grateful for – as he is aware of my continuous efforts to be a positive influence on the island. Since I am located in the rural Southwestern region, I am very curious about how I can help to influence positive change among the urban bustle of Jeju City. Having already spent one year in Jeju, I have gained a lot of experience and strongly believe that I can contribute key, innovative ideas to this forum. In particular, I think I can serve as a representative of the disconnect between the rural and urban parts of Jeju and help to bridge that gap through a community project, which would be made possible with my participation in this forum. Furthermore, I think having someone present who can represent the youth of the island will also be a great way to have a balanced perspective and insight for developing a community project. Though I may not have as much professional artistic experience, I do have a lot of experience in realizing community projects, which I think adds a healthy advantage to the participant pool of the forum. The global aspect of the forum also struck my curiosity, as I have a lot of experience with international groups realizing large-scale projects. Perhaps my strongest draw to the forum is the possibility of sharing my own ideas of combining the rural and urban aspects of daily life for many of Jeju’s citizens. As mentioned, I very often see and feel a disconnect between Jeju City and the rest of the island, so I would like to help bring a rural perspective to this forum and to its subsequent project. To me, the most important idea of this forum is the interconnectedness between the diverse individuals involved – local representatives, foreign representatives, people of various ages and backgrounds. It is my hope that I will be able to join the forum and help to realize a lasting project that will benefit the diverse members involved but also the diverse people on the island of Jeju. As such, my great interest to participate in this forum will help me to work with others and achieve a collective goal that we can all be proud of and that we can all benefit from. In short, I want to participate in this forum because my work has always focused on building connections between cultural elements (art) and social issues: reducing waste to help the environment, creating appliances and displays to help local businesses and institutions, and making beautiful pieces that bring happiness to their owners. I want to help people, so I want to help achieve the many possible goals of The Global Youth Culture Forum Jeju 2018.

Body of Works Barrel

Barrel grill – repurposed barrel and scrap wood into usable flat-top grill Vented heater

Vented heater – charcoal heater and display built for a guesthouse front-room

Point of purchase display – guesthouse front-room display of agricultural goods

Alligator – scrap metal pieces from high school welding class

Giraffes – repurposed fasteners left over from a closed down factory

Bird – old scissors repurposed as a display piece for high school library

Frog – repurposed silverware from a thrift shop made into a display piece

Bottle candle – repurposed glass bottle into usable candle and display piece

Shot glass candle – repurposed shot glass into usable candle and display piece

Strawberries and cream candle – made for purchase at a local farmers’ market

Tangerine marmalade candle – made for purchase at a local farmers’ market Lettuce display

Lettuce display – repurposed plastic bottle for artistic farming

Bell pepper display – repurposed plastic cup for artistic farming

The main focus of all of my projects is to recycle and repurpose waste items into useable, attractive tools and displays. I have been creating these projects since high school and continue to work on them presently. A majority of these projects were volunteer works to help out various institutions, including a high school, library, and guesthouse. Other projects include communal gardening – a part of my “artistic farming” project. The candles shown are made as products available for purchase.

My name is Holly Thomas, and I am a 22 year old American expat. I have been living in Jeju since June 2017 and am currently working with the Global Jeju Culture Cooperative Association. I graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Art in Global and International Studies. I also spent one semester as an exchange student at Kyungpook National University in Daegu. Since coming to Jeju, I have spent a large amount of time on improving the social well-being among the citizens of Jeju, particularly in the more rural areas. Most of my work focuses on community projects, many of which involve cultural awareness and diversity. Artistically speaking, I have always focused a lot on metals manufacturing, woodworking, and craft works; with this experience, I have enjoyed a variety of artistic and practical projects, including metal sculpture, repair welding, and point of purchase display. These days, I am focusing on candlemaking and “artistic farming” – utilizing agriculture and floral arrangements to make both beautiful and useful interactive displays. My personal interests include travelling, baking, gardening, and various cultural studies, in particular, food experiences and language exchange.