Wool-working and other craft classes

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Wool-working and other craft classes


The small lecture room above Gallery Factory, housed in a traditional Korean home near the Blue House in northern Seoul, looked more like an artist’s workshop. Six students wearing aprons were busy teasing out a cloud of colorfully dyed wool and other fibers strand by strand, using two different shades of fibers to make a piece of double-faced felt. To make the fibers stick together, they kept a spray of water directed at the cloth.
About three hours later, the six admired their output, and each kept one piece of cloth to take home.
Using that cloth, for the next four weeks they will make decorative balls, figurines for cell phones, tote bags and gloves. The students were attending the start of “Wool Felt Workshop with Akinamina Kang,” the gallery’s 22nd series of such classes. It is being led by Ms. Kang, 37, a space artist, who will show her classes how to make felt artworks in sessions that continue into March.
“Although wool felt seems unrefined and requires a lot of work, those features in themselves captured my attention,” Ms. Kang said.
In her 20s and early 30s, Ms. Kang was on a far different artistic track, fascinated by fashion. In her work “An Acclaimed Mobile,” she carved luxury brand logos on 100 small acrylic dowels to create a mobile. She also had some experience in stage design and directed music videos and advertisements in which she portrayed the notions of glamor in design and materials.
But a few years ago she became bored with that kind of art and started looking for a more natural, stable medium, even if it did not look exotic under a spotlight or in front of a camera.
While studying in Tokyo, she started experimenting with wool, which she soon decided met her criteria. Her students in the workshop will not only make knick-knacks and accessories, but they will also be exposed to the artist-teacher’s personal style.
Hong Bo-ra, the director of the Gallery Factory, said that the workshops serve another purpose, that of giving the participants some exposure to the wider world of galleries and the fine arts. That, she said, is a world that some students often find intimidating.
“At first, people are too shy to contact us, or even to ask simple questions such as the opening time of the gallery or the way to get here. But after spending time in discussions, chats or even tea parties with artists and gallery staff, they became more open toward the gallery, exhibitions and fine arts,” she said.
Gallery Factory has organized arts and crafts courses since 2003, and one of the most well-received was a book binding class with the Korean typographer Lee Young-jae, who joined the gallery’s project exhibition in 2002.
One of the participants in his course later became a professional bookbinder and exhibited works at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2005. Ms. Hong said that was a good example of how the gallery’s workshops helps people discover hidden interests and talents.
“Our purpose is to get Koreans to realize that art is fun,” she said, “Workshops are a good vehicle for that.”

Workshop Schedule at Gallery Factory
Program Content Date
Making 3D Photographs with Making picture frames with photographs Feb. 18, 25 at 3 p.m.
Kim Si-yeon, Version 2
Looking for Real Nature Downtown How to draw plants using a pen March 4 and 5 (unconfirmed)
with the art group, “Non and Non”
Book Workshop with Kwak Na-shil Hand-printing letters and making books May 3, 10 at 7 p.m. / May 5, 14 at 3 p.m.

by Jin Hyun-ju

The final two sessions of “Wool Felt Workshop with Akinamina Kang” will be held on Feb. 19 and 26 at 3 p.m. The cost is 37,000 won ($38) for each session.
Gallery Factory is located at 127-3 Changseong-dong, Jongno-gu. The gallery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays. The nearest subway station is Gyeongbok Palace, line No. 3, exit 4. From the station, walk away from the Blue House, turn left at the first four-way intersection and walk straight for about 50 meters. The gallery is the second building on the right. For more information, visit the Web site www.factory483.org or call (02) 733-4883.
Workshops are conducted in Korean; English translation is available on request.
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