January 14th, 2020 – April 10th, 2020

Bojagi table runner for design marketing.jpg

Kumjoo Ahn’s exhibition presents the art of traditional hand-embroidery and bojagi (Korean wrapping cloth). The purpose of the exhibition is that viewers experience certain virtues, emotional stability, calmness, perseverance through Korean handcraft arts. Kyubang handcraft arts were born for practical use for their lives with fancy decoration. Therefore, they have both artistic effect and practical use. Viewers will see two kinds of exhibition with bojagi and hand-embroidery. One is to show artistic effects bojagi and hand-embroidered works and the other is that artworks will be installed on the ceiling and floor for practical purpose with ordinary items such as books, lunchboxes and small food table.

Bojagi (보자기), the traditional Korean wrapping cloth, is a centuries-old Korean folk tradition that utilizes patchwork textiles for both everyday use and ceremonial purposes. Bojagi are traditionally hand-made by women in the domestic realm to fulfill a practical need for wrapping items to carry, but also artistic expression. In this way, they bear some resemblance to traditional American quilts, although bojagi are usually of a lighter, at times gossamer texture suitable for simple knotting. Today, bojagi are a popular, ecological alternative to disposable papers and plastics, the reusable wrap itself representing a gift. The geometric patterns and vivid color composition of bojagi are also now recognized as exemplary works of modern design, leading to various creative integrations with contemporary Korean art.


Kumjoo Ahn strives to convey aesthetic value, practicality, and the virtues of perseverance and moderation that were expected and required of women in Korea through her contemporary fiber art works. The handicraft art of traditional women’s quarters (known collectively as gyubang) such as embroidery, bojagi, knots, natural cloth dying, and quilting are considered representative women’s arts in Korea. In particular, Ahn creates each of her unique works to harmonize concepts of East and West, combining European embroidery of London’s royal school of needlework with Korean traditional handicraft. By incorporating contemporary fiber art techniques into Korean traditional embroidery design, Ahn hopes to amplify the beauty and potential of traditional and contemporary Korean textile arts as she introduces them to new audiences.

Born in Gochang County in South Korea’s North Jeolla Province, Ahn was raised in the capital Seoul, where she received her MFA from Kookmin University. Ahn studied under Hee Soon Yoo and Hyun Hee Kim (Masters of Traditional Korean Embroidery), as well as Eun Young Kim (recognized as one of Korea’s Important Intangible Cultural Assets). After moving to the United States, she received her certification in traditional English hand-embroidery from the Royal School of Needlework in London. Ahn’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Fort Lee Public Library, Newark School of the Arts, K&P Gallery in New York, and La Porte Peinte Gallery in France, and her work is in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum. For a year, Ahn demonstrated embroidery techniques at the Blue House, the office of the President of the Republic of Korea, in the cultural space for visitors known as Sarangchae. She also taught Korean traditional crafts in Malaysia, France, New Zealand, and the United State as part of her efforts to introduce the value of Korean traditional crafts.