Sep 6, 2009

More on Hanbok Artist Lee Hyo Jae

Lee Hyojae in barefoot at her garden.Table on right is originally a sewing machine.She places things where it looks most beautiful.

Hanbok" designer, Lee's home
translation by tomato99
source: Yomiuri Shimbun

date: 29 May 2009

Decorate simply

20 minutes drive from downtown Seoul.

Along two lane loose slope mountain road, the house surrounded by high stone walls appear. Korean traditional clothing “hanbok” designer, Ms.Lee Hyojae(李効斎)(51)told us the concept of her proud home, “I decorated simply to be environment-friendly.” In May last year, she rented this 4story building at “one of the highest rent range in Seoul.” Walls are all white in the rooms, marble and dark brown wooden floor are polished to mirror-shine. Building is 25 years old but does not look old. 1st floor is a shop which sells cushions and other goods, 2nd floor is hanbok shop, there is endless line of female visitors.

You can sense lived-in feel from 3rd floor. In kitchen, she equips German knives and measuring spoons as she “loves their accuracy.” Still there are so many visitors to this floor as Ms. Lee teaches cooking and embroidery to housewives twice a week in her “lecture room” located next to the kitchen. Room opposite to kitchen is filled with comics and novels. She started buying and collecting from 30 years ago and smiles “my collections has more than 1000 books.”There is a beautiful garden(approx. 400square meters) outside. A maple tree in center surrounded by mat of lawn. On a sunny day, she brings out a table outside and enjoys her meal at garden. In one corner, there is a field where she grows green pepper, corn, and hot pepper.

There are various sized traditional crocks with hot pepper paste "gochujang" or soybean paste "doenjang" which are essential for Korean cuisine. “Process of making home-made food is part of designing. (Working in field) may be a labor for someone who does not like it, but it is a day to day activity for me.”

There was no major renovation considering negative effect to earth atmosphere by waste. Instead, she elaborated interior decorating. Felt uneasy with light switch on wall, she covered it with white cloth box. It matched with white wall and felt comfortable. There is a stone mill in one corner of the lecture room. Waterweed in water shows graciousness and adds humidity.

Shelf on hallway displays boxes and wine bottles wrapped up in red, yellow and other colorful bojagis. To save paper bags and plastic bags for shopping, I like bojagis.

“Basics for design is simplicity and usefulness. It's the same both to earth's environment and daily clothing, food and housing.” Her philosophy shows in every part of her home. There is no visitors in 4th floor. It is a private floor for Ms. Lee and her 5 female staffs whom she affectionately calls “children.” “It is a place we have not opened to anyone,” she did not disclose it to us in this coverage…..

Dignified stately dwelling

stone mill filled with water shows calm atmosphere

Hanbok displayed on 2nd floor

bojagi covering wine bottles. knot resembles traditional hairstyle of Korean single women.

▼exterior is western style.
fences and outside walls are surrounded by ivy, building speaks for its years.
total floor space is approx. 400square meters.
▼along the mountain road, residential area where relatively grand houses stands
▼there is a temple on other side of the road, you can see visitors.
but, there is not much car traffic, surroundings are isolated from bustle of downtown.

household accounts(living of 6people, Lee and 5 female staffs):
monthly income: 18,000,000won
food expense: 3,700,000won
water,electricity, phone expense: 1,600,000won
travelling expense: 700,000won
car maintenance fee: 2,500,000won
savings insurance: 4,500,000won
others: 5,000,000won

(story and photos by Yasuhiro Maeda, Seoul)

Hanbok artist makes Korean style simple and easy

source: korea .net
BY Lee Ji-yoon KOREA, December 2008

Lee Hyo-jae, traditional clothing artist, had no idea when the media first introduced her as Korea’s Martha Stuart or Korea’s Tasha Tudor -- both internationally well-known for their dexterity in homemaking and gardening respectively.

"I could learn about Martha from her book, which was sent by a reporter. And Tasha’s book is what I receive most frequently as gift," she said.

Now 51, she runs a Hanbok workshop which was passed on by her mother nearly twenty years ago, along with sewing skills. She usually creates Hanbok, traditional Korean dress, and other goods such as bedclothes and Hanbok accessories, used especially for wedding preparations, called "yedan" in Korean.

After her house and homemaking activities based on tradition were featured through several publications and television programs, her name "Hyojae" became a household brand that reinterprets Korean style in a simple and practical way.

"People easily misunderstand that I’m good at decorating. But I pursue extremely simple and practical style. I just put some hint of tradition and my style to hide some ugly things like a nail on a wall," she said. "For me, roses are too complicated."

She has recently moved to a new house and a TV channel aired a one-hour program featuring her moving process in May. Located in Seongbuk-dong, northern Seoul, the two-story house, once the former residence of a foreign ambassador, has transformed into a beautiful home with a Korean touch.

Even though it is rented, her care reaches each corner of the house. The empty walls of the house were covered with ivy. A small space in the corner of a dining room turns into a tea room with a small pond. Electronic devices are covered with a white cloth hand-embroidered with colorful flowers.

And she relocated her Hanbok shop and showroom to a garage at the entrance of the house, which has become a popular spot for visitors.

"My friends and husband say I’m addicted to working, but for me it is a kind of time to reflect and conceive designs, concentrating solely on my inner self," Lee said as she kept sewing a piece of white linen, which would become a dishcloth with delicate embroidery.

Another important reason her ideas are spotlighted is they are eco-friendly. When serving food, she puts pine needles on the plate not to wash it. And she always reuses empty plastic bottles or boxes with a little design.

"I don’t think I’m special. Mothers are professional. You know, people always say their mother’s Kimchi is the best. People pay attention to me just because I’m a designer who does daily activities artistically and happily," she said.

Despite her humble remarks, the seats for her living class, which takes place at her house sponsored by a local home decorating magazine, have already been fully-booked until next spring. Recent lectures in November were focused on Korean-style ornament making, gift packaging and table setting for Christmas.

Along with Koreans who started sensing a new aspect of Korean style, many people from abroad such as wives of foreign ambassadors to Korea visit her house and workshop to experience Korean culture.
Among her several lectures, the most favored is Bojagi wrapping, a traditional way of packaging by using Bojagi, square-shaped clothes made of a variety of materials. She has some 60 patents for unique and different styles of wrapping and knotting.

Lately, she has taken part in an eco-friendly product exhibition, making a performance wrapping Volkswagen’s New Beetle with Bojagi clothes.

"It was a symbolic performance breaking borders between two worlds and connecting them. Although it’s physically painful, I will continue to do those kinds of experiments -- like wrapping a building -- to make people think differently," she said, still sewing, with her left hand bandaged.

"I’m trying to enjoy every moment of my life. If I’m not happy, I couldn’t do things this fiercely," she said.

"I will keep doing what I’m doing now such as Hanbok design, doing lectures, writing books and homemaking. And I want to make my creations to be not only praised for high quality but also enjoyed widely by ordinary people," she said.

(Photos by Eric Gillet)

Lee Hyo Jae-ssi also worked on the costumes for the drama "King's Woman"


Anonymous said...
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gosijo said...

Thanks flowerbossa for helping to prepare us for what we'll see and hear very soon!

flowerbossa said...

Hi gosijo!

Yes, I am having fun learning about the artists that YJ-ssi will be introducing to us soon too!

So much to look forward toヽ(^-^ )/

flowerbossa ♪

Anonymous said...

Ms Lee Hyo Jae is a very gifted artist. I saw her home on KBS world in one of the segments, her creative gift is showcased in every nook & corner of her home.

I am a Indian by birth but addicted to Korean dramas & art thanks to the subtitles in English, I watch almost everything on KBS.

flowerbossa said...

Dear Anonymous,


It seems that we've caught the same virus^_^

Thanks to Yong Joon-ssi, I've come to love the Korean culture. ESPECIALLY drama! Do you like any actors/actresses in particular?

On the other hand, I am very interested in Indian culture too, like Yoga and ayurveda. It teaches us so much.

Thank you for stopping by and hope to talk to you again!