Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hanji filming Part 4 ...... Korean boudoir crafts

Korean traditional boudoir crafts …… 

As the week was progressing I was brimming with new ideas to incorporate into my Hanji craft and visiting this studio was  no exception. Initially I wondered why they were taking me to see a lady who does sewing but I soon came to realize that we can take ideas from many different directions and adapt them to what we do. I was to visit  the studio of Jeong Yun Suk, a lady who does Korean boudoir crafts gyubang.
Jeong Yun Suk sitting at a hanji table
Jeong Yun Suk's studio
Jeong Yun Suk was a beautifully gentle soul who spoke softly but with an infectious hint of enthusiasm in her voice.  Her studio was full of many beautiful pieces that she was keen to show me and each piece was obviously made with  lots of love and attention to fine details.  Her interests include bojagi (quilting) and chasu (embroidery) and she also works with Jeong Hyun Ja using naturally dyed fabrics and making them into clothes and accessories.

Boudoir is derived from the French verb bouder, and was a woman’s private sitting room where she could chat to other women in the household and while away time by doing hand sewing, tapestry, quilting, painting or playing cards. They were common in the upper class households in Europe and  the homes of the nobility in the Far East including China, Japan and Korea.

When staying in the traditional house one of the rooms I visited would have been just for this purpose.

A Korean boudoir
 A square piece of Bojagi was originally created for everyday use, made out of the scraps of fabric left over from sewing and its purpose was as a wrapping cloth because there was a belief that wrapping something up to give as a gift was necessary to bring good fortune.  The use of bojagi flourished during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) but the earliest bojagi dates back to the 12th Century. The craft has grown into making all different household pieces now including curtains for windows, quilts, cushions and bags.

Jeong Yun Suk  showed me, and told the lovely story of a piece of bojagi that her grandmother had made over 100 years ago. The fabric was made of a course fibre, probably ramie, in different shades of cream and it was originally an under garment which her mother had delicately undone and made into a hanging. It was obvious that the hand stitching talent has been handed down from generation to generation.  

100 year old bojagi
It was lovely to hear  some stories  about her family's sewing  history and for me to share  the talents of my mother  in  many similar  crafts.

Different countries similar experiences.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to know my grandmother on my mother’s side, as she passed away when I was only 15 months old, but I’ve heard that she was also very handy with a needle. I haven’t thought much about my grandmother in the past as I wasn't fortunate enough to have a personal connection with her but I’d now love to know more about what hand sewing she did and if any of it has survived. I have two elderly aunts who are 95 and 97 , they should be able to give me a  insight into their mother's creative talents.

Beautiful sheer curtains
Embroidered cover for food
I was interested to see compare Korean and western patchwork styles.  Western patchwork is normally symmetrical and using solid fabrics whereas Korean patchwork can either be symmetrical or non-symmetrical, depending on the scraps of fabric available, and often in a sheer fabric.

Irregular and sheer Korean bojagi
A more modern silk patchwork piece
Learning more about bojagi will no doubt assist me in my Hanji as the technique of patching fabrics can be used just as well with patching pieces of Hanji. I always have scraps of paper left over !!

This was my first attempt at making a bojagi  style lamp out of hanji. I had seen some in Korea on previous visits and was interested to try it out myself.

There's so much more I'd like to explore in this area and my trip around Korea has give me a wealth of ideas to work with in the future.

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