Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ahn Kum-Joo, My Korean Bojagi Teacher

When I returned to South Korea a second time, I knew I wanted to learn bojagi (Korean quilting) and chasu (Korean embroidery) but finding a bojagi teacher was another matter. I was lucky to find Kum-Joo through a friend who knew her through the SIWA organization. SIWA is an organization in Seoul which offers classes in all sorts of things to ex-pats and it is where Kum-Joo taught bojagi lessons members. She is also a teacher at the Icheon Global Center in Seoul.

The photo above is the first thing I made in class. We met once a week in my apartment in Suwon.  I was so impressed with her English. It is not an easy language to learn and she spoke and understood it very well. Kum-Joo always brought all the materials needed for each project. She also brought samples that she had made to show me what we would be making. And then the stitching would begin with her watching and instructing me to make sure I was doing it correctly. The time flew during those hours and I couldn't wait till the next lesson.
                     These are some of the amazing things I made under Kum-Joo's guidance.

These thimbles had a lot of steps to complete them but they were so much fun and I feel like each one is a little work of art. Kum-Joo also included the instructions and patterns so that I could make them again when I returned back to the States.

I also took chasu (Korean embroidery) lessons from Kum-Joo. Korean chasu uses very thin silk thread and is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. I had done embroidery in the past but not with silk thread and not with just two strands. It takes a lot of time to fill in areas and to make them look great. Kum-Joo was a great help in instructing me.
This is another one of my chasu pieces. It was one of the first ones I ever did and I love how great it turned out all thanks to my teacher, Kum-Joo.
Here are some things that Kum-Joo made and brought to show me. When you see what she has made, it makes you want to work hard and make the same things.

I couldn't believe the chasu shoes she brought one day. She did the chasu flowers and then had a shoemaker make the shoes. They were so beautiful.

As you can see, Kum-Joo is very talented in bojagi and chasu. She also holds a Master's degree in Cultural and Arts Administration from Kookmin University in South Korea. She taught and lectured not only in South Korea but in the United States and New Zealand. She has had her work appear in numerous exhibitions where she received several awards. And if that wasn't enough, she is also certified in maedeup (Korean knotting) which is a beautiful addition to bojagi.

I highly recommend Kum-Joo as an expert teacher in bojagi and chasu. Any organization throughout the world would be very lucky to have her teach at their institution. She not only knows the craft of bojagi and chasu but she knows the history which is also fascinating to learn. If we ever got the chance to live in South Korea again, I would take classes from Kum-Joo. She is a wonderful teacher and I hope that you will get a chance to take a class from her someday.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hanji Clamshell Boxes

I finished the Korean clam boxes last week and they turned out great. I have been running into the same problem though with finishing. I haven't found the right varnish to finish them with. It's been really frustrating. I'm almost ready to buy some from my hanji teacher and have her send it over.

My one sister in a Packer fan and the other a Bear fan so I made them each a box. But as you can see, the varnish did not play well with the hanji paper.

Grandbaby is due March 4th but she has gone early with each pregnancy. I am mostly packed ready to leave at a moment's notice but am finding myself jumping every time she texts me or calls. She is also so uncomfortable that the momma in me just wants to make it all better for her. So I wait keeping laundry up and the house picked up. Come on little one, we can't wait to meet you.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Missing My Hanji Teacher

And so it begins, another hanji project. This time I am making clamshell boxes. I had bought the forms in Insadong in Seoul when we first arrived in 2011 for our second stay. I had never taken a hanji class but I knew that I would during our stay. I bought 20 clamshell boxes not knowing how much it would weigh and poor Rocketman ended up carrying 40 cardboard sheets all around Seoul that day. I didn't do that again to him and luckily, I found my hanji teacher and I could get forms from her.
The first step is super gluing the top and the bottom to make the box. This is one part I love where a flat piece of cardboard turns into something wonderful.
I have a sister who is a Packer fan and my little sister is a Bear fan so I decided to make them a box based of the colors of each of their teams. I found the logos on the Internet.
 I was so spoiled when I did hanji in Korea. Every project was ready for me as soon as I walked in the door. My hanji teacher would cut out all the paper so that I all I had to do was the fun part, glue everything onto the form. Sometimes I would hear new people grumble to her about the treatment she gave me and she would answer them that it was because I was the foreigner. The hanji regulars knew about it and it didn't bother them at all, they were so happy to have the foreigner there.

But now that I am home, I don't have my hanji teacher to make pattern pieces let alone cutting everything out for me. I made the pattern pieces for the clamshell box and it took me the better part of an afternoon. I miss her so much.
Next came the fun part of picking out the paper I was going to use on the boxes. I don't know what is wrong with me but every time I use some paper out of my stash, I feel the strong need to replace it with more paper. It's the same feeling I get when I use any of my fabric stash. But unlike fabric, I can't jump into the car and drive to Korea.
Then next step was covering all the boxes. It is so fun to see how they turn out. And yes, that is our kitchen table where we eat our meals but after all these years, Rocketman doesn't mind eating around my crafting. The boxes have had two coats of hanji glue and they need to dry overnight. Then I apply a coat of varnish but I'll have finished boxes to show you very soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Carol Duvall Show - My Very First Appearance

My very first appearance on "The Carol Duvall Show." It taped here at Media City in Burbank, CA. It was a pretty nondescript building in a residential neighborhood. The story is on my blog here somewhere of how it all came to be. I originally flew out to do one segment but when Carol heard the story of my polymer clay business, she also wanted me to do a segment for the show she was doing on the business of crafting.
                                I was so excited to see my name on the dressing room door.
The business segment was taped first and it was pretty easy with me just answering Carol's questions. Next came the polymer clay sock monkey segment. I had no idea what to do. I had never been on television before let alone demonstrating on television. But Holly, my producer, guided me the whole time.

I came in the day before to set up my segment and get all the step outs ready. I came in the next morning to find that someone (the husband of another guest) had put a board on my table crushing my sock monkey heads. Holly was a trooper and helped me make the pancakes back into heads. She was none too pleased and neither was I. Here we are setting up for the segment. That's my nervous smile. Rocketman never missed a taping and I'm so thankful because I have lots of photos to look at now.
 The segment went off without a hitch and we had a picture taken of us with my first book. It wasn't even ready yet but the publisher flew in a cover so Carol could hold it up at the end of the segment. And if you didn't notice, that's still my nervous smile. I was still nervous even though I was done and it had gone great.
We invited Holly out to dinner and it was the beginning of a close friendship that remains today. She knows all the restaurants with the most delicious food in Los Angeles.
Carol was gracious enough to pose for a picture (and many more to come). We are still close today. She is a great mentor and I feel so blessed to know her.
This was my dressing room and I'm telling Rocketman, "I'm hungry, let's go!" I made so many friends from the staff to fellow guests and it always feels like a reunion when we run into each other like at CHA.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Missing Nan-Young and Chilbo(Korean Enameling)

Through Kakao Talk in South Korea, I texted all my Korean friends a Happy New Year even my chilbo teacher knowing she doesn't read English. What I got in return was so much more than I expected. She sent me photo after photo of things she has been working on.

                She also sent some selfies. I just think she looks sad to me or maybe she's just reflective.

                                                         Her hair is getting so long.

I have to make this!
My famous buddy showed up to do some more painting. I will definitely take lessons from him in the future.

                                                                      I love his tigers!
She left me with this twilight shot of her the front of her shop. If anything, this made me homesick for the land I have come to love so much. We are thinking of a visit in the Fall. I can't wait!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...