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Textiles of South Korea

Hubby and I at Dongdaemun Market in Seoul, South Korea.

One of the objectives of my trip to South Korea was to explore the handmade textiles in the area.  I had unexpectedly more difficulty with this than I thought I would.  The first part of the trip we were in Busan and Gyeongju with friends just acclimatizing.  The second part of the trip I was traveling with men.  I counted myself lucky to convince them to go through textile museums, galleries, and shops with me at all.  Poor Hubby left one shop in a daze after seeing the framed goldwork for 450,000 KRW.  That’s roughly $450US for  a 12″ x 12″ piece of exquisite goldwork embroidery.  Worth every penny in my mind.  But I digress…

Our first textile stop was to Dongdaemun Market in Seoul to order silk for rug hooking and pick up burlap for samplers for my students.

To understand Dongdaemun Market you have to think of a large warehouse, three buildings of it, 5 or 6 floors of it, all fabric/yarn/craft vendors.  One whole building is fabric.  Each vendor has a space about 10’x 10′ to sell their product.  So, for the most part they just have small samples out.  You check the samples, order what you want, pay for it, and then come pick it up the next day when they bring it in for you.

Dongdaemun Market is one of the largest fabric markets in Asia, and I was thankful to have help getting through it.  I have a friend with contacts outside Seoul who were able to tell me exactly where to go.  I got in, ordered the silk, and was out in half an hour.  Our guide was amazed!  It was definitely a lot quicker with him to translate for me.

As we went through various museums I’d stop and take photos of textiles and textile related items.  I found some interesting artifacts at the National Folk Museum of Korea, an unscheduled stop we just happened across on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace.  Check out the old looms in the National Folk Museum of Korea.

Floor loom, National Folk Museum of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.

Loom, National Folk Museum of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.

Also the traditional dress of Korea.

Korean Traditional Dress.

We saw a lot of people walking around in traditional dress, especially women, because you have free access to key tourist sites if you wear traditional dress.  It was little weird seeing people of all nationalities in traditional Korean dress, but one got used to it quickly.  I opted to not go for traditional attire because of comfort and time constraints.  We were really moving through sites at the rate of 10 – 12 kms. per day.

One day was devoted exclusively to my request to see textiles.  We stopped first at the Embroidery Museum of Korea.  It was a disappointment.  It had piecework or patchwork samples in it, but no embroidery.  I was a bit mystified as to why the name.  There were a lot of very expensive books for sale.  The only one I thought worth purchasing actually did have embroidery photos in it and was selling for close to $150US.  We walked out and went onto our next stop…the Chojun Textile and Quilt Museum.

This stop did live up to its name!  It was a small place, but larger than the Embroidery Museum.  And it had proper displays that included embroidery.  Some lovely goldwork on display.  The quilts were not all made by Koreans or in Korea.  We were told that the exhibit is actually a partial display of a private collection amassed by a generous lady over the course of 40 years.  The lady at the museum was kind enough to let us take a few photos…without flash.

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After purchasing a sample of Korean piecework and some postcards, we headed off to Gallery 0001010 at the recommendation of the lady at the Textile and Quilt Museum.  She told us it was “in the basement” of Myeongdong Cathedral.  Hmm…Myeongdong Cathedral has no basement we could discover.  What it does have is an underground shopping mall nearby.  Sure enough we found Gallery 0001010 in this underground mall!

We were in luck!  Not only was the gallery there, but the quilt show was open, AND the artist, Lee Jae Woo, was there as well.  I had the opportunity to chat with her and her friend, and to show the guys some quilting.  It was a delight to meet her and her friend.  Unlike traditional Korean quilting these quilts were machine quilted.  Lee Jae Woo learned quilting in the USA.  Traditional piecework and quilting was done by hand.  Still, the small size of the quilt pieces and blocks just awed me.  Look at this one…three different levels of close up…

Hubby checking to make sure all the corners match!

Closer yet. Yes, those are smaller blocks even yet!

These small pieces were well under an inch square…more like a centimeter square. Amazing detail!

By the time we were finished Gallery 0001010 it was suppertime and we were ravenous.  We had a great bite to eat at a local restaurant and shopped Myeongdong Market before heading back to the hotel for the night.

We also popped into the Hansangsoo Embroidery Museum in Bukchon Hanok Village.  No photos were allowed and there was not much happening.  I understand you can arrange to take silk embroidery lessons there if you plan in advance.  I did not.  There were some nice embroideries in there, but they appeared to be mostly one particular artist’s work.

Other fibre things of interest?  The South Koreans excel at knotwork.  They create beautiful tassels and hang them from long strands of silk rope with elaborate knots made in them.  Check the sides of this painted panel hanging in the National Museum of Korea in Seoul.  This is not a particularly elaborate one.  Our guide said it was actually quite easy to make.

If you feel so inclined there is a Knot Workshop in Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul where you can go and take a workshop in creating a basic knot.  It is best to book in advance though.  Interestingly enough, there are a lot of workshops and little classes one can take if they book ahead.  I simply did not have time to do them.

When I asked around about the lack of textiles Korean women commented they were too busy working from 8 AM to 10 PM to have time to do handwork.  Most Korean women with families are up at 5 or 6 AM to prepare for the day and don’t get to bed till 11 PM or midnight.  Most textile work was done by retired women, and women who could afford to do it.  However, while that may generally be the case, I do know some South Korean mothers who make time for handwork, and do an excellent job of it.  Our guide’s aunt hand painted and made beautiful fans for Hubby and I from scratch…after she finished her day job.

I was disappointed not to get to see the dye garden at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, or the dye workshop located in or near Bukchon Hanok Village.  I was just too tired.  Hubby and I both agreed we need to go back again someday and see more of South Korea.

 

In my studio…and out – Inspiration

Hi everyone!  This weekend we had a great time, both teaching a class and attending a multicultural festival that greatly inspired me.  I didn’t get away unscathed.  I found some inspiration to purchase!

The Buddhist temple paper cut was actually a gift from the ladies at the Chinese booth.  There were some very delicate paper cuts available there.  The watch was $5 and is actually a gorgeous bracelet.  The Pashmina shawl has a wonderful paisley design I just couldn’t pass up.  The bright green and pink fabric is handwoven by the Chakra people from Bangladesh.  It is beautiful cloth!  The lady selling it suggested I make a traditional skirt out of it.  But I am hesitant to cut into it.  It’s just gorgeous!

So that was my inspiration for this month.

In other news…

  • my class on Saturday went really well.  My student and I colour planned a monochromatic grey, black, and white rug.  Lest you think that’s easy, let me remind you that grey has many different coloured undertones.  You have to have a good eye for shades and tints (value) to colour plan a grey rug properly.  Other “colours” have the same issue.  There are warm and cool versions of all colours.  But some have more undertones than usual…black and grey for sure.  At any rate, we got it done and she is off with lots of cut fibre to hook rug the next couple of weeks.
  • The Art Gallery of Regina Salon Show and Sale is coming up.  This week I have to prepare and pack my pieces for the show.  I’ll be taking them “Dancing Tree” and “Blue-Eyed Grass”.
  • I will be preparing for this coming Saturday’s class.
  • I will be hooking on “Moss”.

A reminder that after the end of March my next class will be May 6th and will be a Finishing class.  May 13th is tentatively set as a design class.  The Finishing class is 2 hours long, and the Design class is 3 hours long.  Both Saturday afternoons.  If you can’t make Saturday afternoon class and would like classes, feel free to contact me and we can arrange a mutually beneficial time for a class.

That’s the rug hooking plan so far this week.  Hope everyone has a great week! Thanks for reading! 🙂

WIP Thursday

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The Barn is coming along.  As you can see, it is a very small barn.  It is in real life too!  Very small, and very red.  It’s really a stable.  Actually, it’s been renovated into a picnic shelter.  But it was a barn I’m assured.  🙂

I’m still working on the Cellular Baby Blanket.  I haven’t really progressed enough to take another photo of it.  It takes a long time to knit a lace baby blanket I’ve discovered!

I’ve been side tracked with another project I started before Christmas – printing off my blog posts for the last 3 1/2 years.  My posts are so photo heavy that I create files for each month and then print them month by month.  I’ve only managed to print from Summer 2012 to Spring 2013.  It’s going to be a long, tough slog.  I am transferring all the posts into Open Office, editing them, saving, and then printing them.

The Granddaughter’s Needle Box and Thimble Box are finished, but that’s for tomorrow’s post. 🙂

Next up I’ll be working on the oval Hardanger Christmas ornaments.

Hardanger oval christmas ornaments

Weekly Review

The Barn 3

This week centred on starting the hooking for The Barn.  I’ve made a start, but am not happy with the fence. There may be later changes there.

Knit baby blanket 1

I also decided to focus in on knitting the Cellular Blanket, a baby blanket pattern from a library book.

Needle box 7

Plus I worked more on Granddaughter’s Needle Box.  I figure I’m about half finished I need to rustle up some clothes pins for makeshift clamps.

I started in on some oval Hardanger Christmas ornaments I found tucked away in a box in a cupboard.

I took some time to update my business books and visit the bank.

I did work a bit on my portfolio, but, as noted yesterday, we need more ink for the printer.

I also found out about an upcoming show in March and April, and quickly sent in my application to take part.

I took part in Blogging 101 and am nearing the end of the course. Hopefully the changes have improved the look of the blog.

That’s my review for this week.  No spinning…yet. 🙂

WIP Thursday…

The Barn 2

What’s on the go this week?  I’ve been having fun playing with different ideas and working on different projects.

  • The Barn is started and the actual barn is mostly hooked,
  • I continued knitting the baby blanket.  I tried stitch markers for the lace pattern, but it did not work due to the nature of the pattern.  So I am back to doing without.

Hardanger oval christmas ornaments

  • I went through my Hardanger box to file everything away on shelves, and came across a couple of kits, one already started.  Both are for Christmas ornaments. I decided to work on the one that was already started.  It has some nice cotton, linen, and metallic thread oval ornaments decorated with beads.

Needle box 4

  • I am still working on the Granddaughter’s Needle Box.  It requires a lot of gluing and I spend time waiting for it to dry.  By the time it’s dry I’m onto another project!  I am not going to have enough glue to finish this.  I’m thinking I may need to make a trip to Walmart to pick some up.

Planning Journals

  • See these lovely notebooks?  Aside from being inspiration themselves, I use them to help organize my days.  These have been in use since 2009, when I first read David Allen’s Getting Things Done.  I use David Allen’s ideas to keep me on task and productive.  Why are they in a WIP post?  Because I updated them. 🙂
  • Work on my portfolio has halted because we are running out of ink.  Need to buy new colour ink cartridges for our printer.
  • I haven’t even looked at my spinning yet.  Maybe this weekend.

Well that’s my works in progress everyone.  Hope everyone has a great day! 🙂

Inspiration Wednesday

Inspiration doesn’t only come from photos for me.  It also comes from other bloggers…and they don’t have to be rug hooking blogs either.  Here are a few blogs and blog posts I’ve been inspired by lately.

Elizabeth Barton’s Art and Quilts, cogitations thereon

Danny Gregory’s blog by the same name.

If you’re a knitter like I am as well, check out KnittingHelp.com for free videos on how to knit.

Anna Hergert’s Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Katie and Dori Hobbies Up To Here

If you are a stitcher or needlewoman, Sharon Boggins has a blog, Pintangle, with lots of inspiration and ideas.

And for a good change of pace I love to follow this blog out of the border country in Great Britain.

Weekly Review

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Hardanger Bell Pull – a modification of the EAC (Embroiderer’s Association of Canada) Intermediate Hardanger course.

In keeping with the list theme, you notice you see a lot of lists on this blog.  I find them easier to navigate and scan as a reader, and very concise as an author.  This week I accomplished a few things to put on my “Done” list.

  • I finished my Hardanger bell pull,
  • I finished, I mean totally finished, Wascana Creek,
  • I did the finishing on Wascana Creek – Study, the original plein air piece for Wascana Creek,
  • I worked on updating my portfolio, and
  • I continued with my Blogging 101 course.

Today I will continue with my portfolio and color planning The Barn.

Planning next week soon.

Wascana Creek and study

“Wascana Creek” and its plein air piece “Wascana Creek – Study”.

Inspiration Wednesday

It’s not that I don’t have a lot to do.  I really do!  And when I look around my home and start pulling out all the half finished projects and projects to do around the house, or making a list of them, or…well…in this case, photographing them, I find it’s inspiration to get on and finish a few of them.

If you didn’t guess it, last week’s Inspiration Wednesday theme was Warmth.  Can you guess today’s?   I gave it away above.  It’s my “To Do” list of projects.  All except my rug hooking…of which I have sketchbooks full of ideas.  Should keep me out of trouble for a while. 🙂

I hope everyone has a busy and productive day.  I know I will! 🙂

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A baby blanket

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The hanging sleeve

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A Korean applique quilt pattern.

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Plein air “Wascana Creek – Study”.

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Yarn!  It’s emptier than it was!  The rest I’ve already either used, given away, or sold.

 

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Spinning fibre

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An Irish chain quilt.

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A sweater

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Goldwork embroidery

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A gorgeous Needle Box.

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Needlepainting

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Crewel embroidery

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Needlepoint cushion

In My Studio

Hardanger Bellpull 1

This week in my studio I am…

  • busy organizing my receipts from last year to file away for any future use.
  • finishing the hardanger bellpull.
  • sewing a hanging sleeve on Wascana Creek.
  • start to hook The Barn.

The barn pattern 1

I am also considering work on a laptop case and a footstool cover.  My footstool cover is sprouting holes.

Footstool

I have the laptop case drawn on linen backing, but haven’t started hooking it.  I am not happy with the actual design of the case itself.  I need to do some zipper shopping online and off to see if I can find what I need for it.  Local selection is limited.

I am also looking at more sewing.  I have everything I need for a camera case except some foam padding.  Hmm…

Lots to keep me busy the next while!