Traditional craft in South Korea

In South Korea, the traditions of hand-made creations have been preserved through history thanks to dedication of highly skilled masters who keep alive the ancient know-how of their craft. In the last fifteen years, however, the craftsmen and women receive institutional encouragement through well-structured governmental assistance. The Korean Craft & Design Foundation, established in 2000, set as its goal to preserve and sustain the country’s traditional crafts, and to create the necessary links between artisans and business companies in order to create mutually beneficial collaborations.
Hansan Ramie Patchwork Wrapper 03
The Foundation hosts a gallery, craft workshops and distribution centre from which the craftworks are sold worldwide. The idea is to give individual craft masters the opportunity to achieve greater commercial success, and to spread the Korean traditional crafts internationally. The fruits of this project could be seen in Milan during the Salone del Mobile 2014, when the Triennale Museum hosted a special exhibition exploring the various traditional crafts of Korea and their modern interpretations.
Hansan Ramie Patchwork Wrapper 04
The textile section received great importance in the context of the Italian exhibition, as well as in the daily activities of the Korean Foundation. The Hansan Ramie Patchwork has been given centre stage, showing the delicate and complex woven textiles which serve for decoration and clothing alike. The fabrics are manually woven in Hansan using threads made of the stalks of the local Ramie plant. The woven fabrics are light and almost transparent, thus suitable to wear in the warm and humid Korean summer. Traditionally, these fabrics were made by local women, who collected the plants by day and worked on the loom to weave the fabrics by night. The complex weaving technique has been recognized as a cultural heritage asset by Unesco.
Hansan Ramie Patchwork Wrapper 01
After the garments were made, the leftover fabrics were used for interior decoration, assembled together in a patchwork pattern. Today, the Korean Foundation helps to revive the complex and costly procedure of the Hansan Ramie fabric by setting to it a high artistic and artisan value. In June 2014, the Foundation organized the Hansan Ramie Fabric Cultural Festival, to celebrate the delicate luxury fabric traditionally made by the region’s most humble women.