cover image Bojagi: The Art of Korean Textiles

Bojagi: The Art of Korean Textiles

Youngmin Lee. Herbert, $28 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-78994-183-8

This standout debut primer from textile artist Lee shows how to hand sew bojagi, or traditional Korean cloths “used to wrap, cover, carry, or store objects.” She explains that some of the earliest bojagi were created by the Buddhist monk Iryeon (1206–1289) to record legends and fairy tales, and that the textiles were “one of the few creative outlets” permitted women under the “rigid and strict Confucian society of the Joseon Dynasty.” Surveying different types of bojagi, she notes that nubibo is a quilted variant often used for keeping food warm, and yemulbo serves as gift wrap for wedding presents. An overview of sewing basics shows how to make running, back, and whip stitches, as well as flat-felled, open, and triple stitch seams. Bojagi was traditionally made with recycled fabric scraps, a history that comes through in the patchwork style of the projects, which include a place mat, a tote bag, a pincushion resembling a plum blossom, window coverings featuring interlocking rectangles of various sizes, and a yeouijumun (or jewel-shaped patterned) brooch. While a few projects, such as the flower-shaped pouch, are relatively easy, most will be a bit complex for beginners. Nevertheless, experienced stitchers will have no problem following Lee’s straightforward instructions, and the unusually rich historical background will deepen readers’ appreciation of the craft. The result is a first-rate sewing manual. (Sept.)