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 Korean Voices in Fiber

Translating Tradition into Contemporary Art

This exhibit highlights the ancient heritage of fiber art in Korea as well as its vibrant modern transformation of both traditional and unexpected techniques and materials.  It is an opportunity to be introduced to a particular aspect of Korean artwork as part of our worldwide culture of textile arts.

The Korean Peninsula has been engaged in a wide variety of fiber arts since the most ancient times. People grew the plants from which they extracted the fibers and dyes and used them to create their own fabrics and paper. They fashioned them into clothing as well as many household, decorative, and ritual items. Museums in Seoul and other parts of the country display such objects of interest. Because few people in America are acquainted with Korea’s rich cultural and artistic history, this exhibit highlights examples of some of its traditions through contemporary interpretations.

The award-winning artists whose works are shown here have exhibited internationally. Some are also respected designers and professors in textile arts departments at Korean universities.

The materials they employed in creating these artworks range from such natural Korean fibers as silk (oksa, nobang, and saekdong dan), ramie (mosi), hemp (sambe), cotton (myeon), and paper (hanji) to metallics and synthetics produced by the latest technology. The techniques embrace the traditional practices of patchwork piecing (jogakbo), hand stitching, and embroidery along with the modern practices of machine sewing, laser cutting, and digital textile printing.

The once domestic craft of bojagi (Korean wrapping cloth) has become a unique textile art form that has expanded worldwide into fashion and design, architecture, and more. Like quilts that have moved off beds and are now hung on walls, bojagi are also recognized as more than practical home goods. 

We are happy to share these traditions with you and hope you will enjoy the beautiful colors, patterns, and textures from Korea.


Misik Kim (Seoul, Korea) and Mirka Knaster (The Sea Ranch, CA), co-curators

Youngmin Lee (Pleasanton, CA), U.S.-Korea liaison, translator, and teacher of bojagi.

Heejae Iacovino (Seattle, WA), translator


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