Artist Interview ‘Look out for K-crafts’
From K-pop to K-dramas, Korean cultural products are gaining popularity worldwide-- but little is yet known about Korean craft arts outside of the country.Kim Eun-bi, 35, founder and CEO of Middle Studio, believes that traditional crafts have the potential to gain as much spotlight as other popular korean culture exports.
Kim founded Middle Studio in 2017, and launched the Chi brand of everyday items and fashionwear inspired by traditional Korean crafts and culture. Working with craft artisans, Kim has been playing the role of a bridge between traditional crafts and modern designs.
This year, Kim set up Kohip, an e-commerce platform service for promoting and selling traditional craft products with modern designs. An online test launch site opened this last April.
“In the past few years in business, I realized that there were many small items and stores who had fascinating products inspired by traditional designs and crafts but were having difficulties due to a lack of distribution channels. Through Kohip, I thought traditional crafts artisans and designers could come together for a sustainable business.” Kim sought and found other artists to bring together their creative visions and create collaborative pieces.
Their first collaboration was a bamboo forest scent diffuser. “When we think of Korean bamboo crafts, we typically picture trays and baskets, but we don’t use them often today. I thought of ways to bring bamboo crafts back into our daily lives and found an answer while visiting Han’s hometown in Damyang, famous for its bamboo forest. Our final product harmonizes the artistry of Han’s work and also the unforgettable scent of his hometown.”
A do-it-yourself traditional knotting kit was made in collaboration with Korean knot – called “maedeup” in Korean -- craft artisan Park Hyeong-min. Since knot crafts are relatively easy for people to try making, Kim wanted to make a kit that would get people familiarized with and eventually enjoy traditional knot making.
“We try out each item before making the final selection. My two current favorites that I have on daily are a pair of shoes and a phone case. The shoes are inspired by ‘danghye,’ women’s shoes worn during the Joseon era, and the phone case is designed with images of ‘yakgwa,’ a traditional Korean dessert.
Although they are based on traditional designs, the modern touches and usage of the items make them cool and chic for the MZ generation to use,” she said. This mixing of old and new continues to inspire and paves the way for new appreciation of timeless art traditions.
Source: Kim Hae-yeon, Korea Herald (June 2022)
Buckwheat noodles is a summertime staples in Korea. When the scorching weather makes you lose your appetite, it is hard to resist the slurpable noodles that can be served either hot or cold. Known for their unique texture, buckwheat noodle lovers seek dishes that ditch the heat for added flavor. Read here to discover the interesting ingredient and a recipe to add into the mix!
Incense burning has been practiced in Korea for centuries. In the 8th to 14th centuries, incense burning was an essential part of Buddhist rituals. As early as the start of this century, incense was primarily used only for special or ceremonial occasions. Today, it is used for meditation, yoga or “mung” (the Korean word for a trance-like state) sessions. Discover more here.
Best Unique Gifts for Any Occasion: Inbebo Guide To Winning at Gifting. How many of us have accepted an invitation to gatherings where a gift was needed? Unlike other gift shops, we opt for uncommon goods that give us a sense of wow! Because gift-giving is an experience best shared.
Eaten at the beginning of summer, bamboo shoots have many health and wellness benefits to the body. Such as a slow down the aging process, prevention of constipation and hypertension, and assists in detoxifying the body. Read more for a recipe to add Bamboo shoots to your menu routine!