On Saturday, I attended a lecture by Chunghie Lee at Empire Quilters in New York City. The lecture was about bojagi, which are traditional Korean wrapping cloths, used to wrap gifts and also for tableware.
Since I know absolutely nothing about Korean textiles, I was interested to attend this presentation. I will say that Chunghie has a strong accent, so it was sometimes difficult for me to follow what she was saying. She had an excellent set of photographs, and it was clear that she was passionate about her subject.
Chunghie has had several prestigious art shows around the world, and is an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. In August, she headed the Korea Bojagi Forum. According to their website:
Bojagi is the traditional Korean folk art of making wrapping cloths. Bojagi, first sewn in the 15th century by a few nameless women in small villages, now inspires many influential artists of the 21st century throughout the world. Bojagi has been introduced to the western world over the past 30 years, and Korea Bojagi Forum 2012 is designed to provide a meaningful and comprehensive multicultural survey of Bojagi, exploring its origin, materials, uses, historical background, and creative transformations.
From their roots as wrapping cloths, bojagi has inspired wall art, sculptures, room dividers and clothing. Her lecture had some wonderful photos of her work, although it was hard to see the beauty of the pieces. At the end of the lecture, Chunghie unrolled a large bojagi that looked like transparent stained glass. The room made a collective “ahhhhhh.” You could see how the light danced through the cloth.
We also saw the work of one of her students (whose name I, unfortunately, did not catch. She had a white sheer piece of bojagi that was absolutely breathtaking.
Chunghie is the author of Bojagi and Beyond.
You can learn more about bojagi at wikipedia.
You can see more images of Chughie Lee’s work in google images.