|▲ Kim Yeon-ju, CEO of Soyeon Workshop|
In the olden days, women used the odd ends of cloth to make clothes or bundle handkerchiefs instead of throwing it away since the clothes shops were rare. This patchwork of the woman’s quarter’s, however, developed into the level of art work as time went by. Today, the increasing number of people is reported to be learning the skill either as a hobby or as a possible future profession. CEO Kim Yeon-ju of Soyeon Workshop grew up watching her mother making clothes. She developed her interest in the craft and asked her mother to walk the same way when she reached the age for independence. But she had to face the harsh objection of her mother since the job brought her not sufficient income which was then even irregular. As good a daughter as she was, Kim could not fight against her mother’s firm objection. One day, however, she opened her eyes wide to her hobby of patchwork and decided to upgrade the skill to the level of profession. She made inexorable progress from winning a prize at the Busan Art Exhibition to obtaining certificates relating to Korean dress, natural dye, embroidery (2nd grade) and boudoir crafts (1st grade). “Making a work with leftover cloth was regarded as embroidering the luck in the olden days. It might mean the process of a woman’s every single stitch and scissoring and her wish for luck and longevity which were melted into the work. And the result of the labor and wish was beautiful whether it was a handkerchief, a cover of the table or pillows. This can be a reason that the craft is received as an art today” explains Kim who is teaching the patchwork art at Busan Women’s Center, Busan Jin District Office and Busan Joong District Office at the moment. “I always emphasize to my students to be faithful to the basics. Nothing can stand still without a firm foundation. I tell them not to hurry but do it slowly with attention to detail and good materials.” It is noteworthy that Kim has won 50 prizes from many competitions and exhibitions including the Korean Traditional Handicraft Contest and the Busan Skills (mayor’s prize) with some of the notable prizes like the chairman’s prizes of the Seoul Metropolitan City Council and the National Assembly and the ministerial prize from the Ministry of Unification. As a result, Kim’s name was listed in the Korean Patchwork Masters (No. 2013-20) in 2013. May and June last year, Kim joined ‘Abstract X Yoo Young Kuk on Patchwork Exhibition’ held at the Busan Museum of Art. Yoo is a pioneer of Korean abstract art who has won a number of top prizes in Japan (1938) and Korea (1976, 1982). The exhibition made an attempt to apply the Yoo’s abstract works to patchworks in an effort to reinterpret the artist’s world. Kim joined as a lecturer and her students as artists who attracted a great attention during the exhibition.
Note: <Power Korea> ‘rewrites’ Korean article into English ‘concisely’.
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