Tuesday 30 April 2013

Sakura and Starfish!!!

I was SUPER excited to discover that virtually overnight a lot of the Sakura blossoms have opened! I've been waiting weeks for this and as it's been mega cold and Spring has taken it's time to arrive I was worried I would end up missing the cherry blossom season!!! So this week the skies are amazingly blue and the roads and rice fields are lined with pretty pink flowers!!! Such a massive change from when I first arrived in the countryside and it was bitterly cold, rainy and unbearably windy!
 One of the themes of my projects here in South Korea looks at the transition between seasons, so I'm so happy that I managed to get to see the country during this time of year! The whole town looks really different and it's such a contrast to all of the grey and brown that I've been seeing for weeks!!!
In other news I've been mainly working on wrapping up all of the sewing of the new wearable art collection that I'm developing whilst here as once I return to the city it's going to be a hardcore month in terms of the project and the collaborations that I have planned... so a few more sleepless nights on the cards I reckon!
As the weather has been nice it means I've had more of a chance to go on adventures....the beaches are especially spectacular in the sunshine....I also found a tonne of starfish....amazing colourful, HUGE ones! Actually the place is pretty much deserted a lot of the time so I probably saw more starfish than humans!!!! There have also been a couple of midnight ice cream quests which involved roaming around the countryside with a torch! Anyway, back to the sewing!!!!!!!!!!
Love and sparkles,
Emma xxx

Friday 26 April 2013

Village Toy Shops and Rainbow Houses!!!

Oooooh Hiya!!!!
I'm super excited as I've discovered a few colourful treats throughout the past few days~which makes a change from all the nature/ end of winter colours that I usually see on a daily basis in the Korean countryside!!! Earlier in the week a fellow artist in residence, Paris, from Incheon Art Platform arrived here in the wilderness and he will now be also working from the studio, so it's nice to have someone other than myself to gossip with...and the really exciting news is that he brought me CHEDDAR CHEESE from the city so I'm overjoyed and looking forward to making a nice sarnie!!!!
For weeks I have walked past what appears to be the most amazing toy shop in the World.... the downside is I have never seen it open even once....UNTIL LAST NIGHT!!!!
There are no words to say how excited I was!!!!!!!! The owners also live in the shop so they were sitting there eating dinner and watching TV...it didn't seem they were expecting any customers, so they swooped into action when we rocked in!!!!
This place was a total dreamland for me....cute stationary, stickers, treasures and amazing toys galore!!! It was like Aladdin's cave, packed to the rafters with all number of joys!!!...everything was stacked high and there were some really random one off items...most things were covered with dust and looked like they had been sitting there for years...it kind of reminded me of those seaside shops back in the 80's full of hula hoops, foil windmills and cardboard boxes instead of lino on the floor...it was the BEST TOYSHOP EVER!!!!! It's been over a month since I've been able to do any proper shopping so obviously I got over excited! All of this jaunting around in rural Korea means that the extent of my shopping options usually stretch to a couple of teeny tiny village grocery stores to buy the likes of tofu and beansprouts.... so finding a shop that sells items other than food was awesome!!! 
During our adventures last night we spotted a few guys painting some walls white....didn't think anything of it...so imagine when we discovered tonight that a bunch of houses around town have been turned into magical rainbows literally overnight!!! Ahhhhhh this was so amazing....the place is super bright and colourful and it just looks so lovely!!!! I've been obsessed with painted houses ever since I found the wonderful ones when I went to Wolmi Island a few weeks ago, so I'm super happy to have found some in the middle of rural world as I LOVE the idea of this!!!
Ok, so I'll show you a few photos.... then it's off to bed for me!!!
Love and Sparkles,
Emma xxx

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Sewing in the Wilderness and More Workshops!!!

Ooooh Hiya!!!!
Just a couple of updates of what has been going on!!! Not too much juicy gossip as these days the deadlines are ticking so, aside from sewing the new collection at all hours, there are not too many escapades to report on!!! Most recently I've been doing a lot of embroidery and hand embellishment work which makes for some super long, sewing sessions and plenty of bleeding fingers!!! I have also been continuing to collaborate with the staff at a local school and have churned out another phase of my workshop programme here! So I shall show you a few photos!!!!
The most recent workshop saw a larger group of children and also they were a little it older so I could be a bit more adventurous with the techniques I was teaching them!!!
I'm really enjoying doing to the workshops alongside my project as it brings a bit more variety to my work here and it's always fun to have the studio all lively and full of people getting crafty...!The downside was when I was setting up all of the fabrics and equipment that I actually encountered the BIGGEST of the spiders that I'm yet to encounter...this one was a different style to the others....this one was a lot more fluffy than I would have liked...looked like it was wearing a wig~ gross! So the spider scenarios continue... my fear of spiders is now 10 times worse than it ever was in the first place and now I'm trying various methods to defer these beasts...tea tree oil, jungle strength DEET, sound apps on my phone....sleeping with bobbles around the wrists of my pajamas in case they are lurking under the duvet..... endless techniques in the mix...  
So anyway enough about spiders and that.... I'll leave you with a couple of photos!!!!

Love and Sparkles,
Emma xxx

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Children's Workshops in the Studio!!!!

So today saw the start of  some workshops at the studio that I'm doing with children from a local kindergarten! I'm actually doing several workshops alongside my main project and new collection in partnership with my residency here in South Korea
and this was the first in a series that I will be doing during the community based aspects of my projects here. It was really fun and today saw a bunch of 5 year olds getting crafty with the fabric~plenty of bright colours and sequins flying around the room!
Over the upcoming weeks I will be working with a few different groups in which everyone will be making their own square to contribute to a final patchwork!
It was really lovely to have them in the studio and really great for me to get to meet some of the local kids and work alongside Sophia, the teacher from the school!
The school have been hugely supportive during my rural adventures so it's really amazing to be able to work with them and I'm looking forward to the next workshop! The school itself is really great to visit, it's super colourful with Hello Kitty EVERYWHERE~and the kids and staff are incredibly friendly! There's always coffee, bananas and toast in the mix whenever I pop in to visit!
As I mentioned, people and the community are a core theme of my creative projects here, so it's great to experience more insight into this through hosting the workshops and actually interacting with the residents and local institutions.
Alright, so I'm off to tidy up all of the sparkles from the floor then crack on with my own sewing!!!! So I will leave you with a couple more photographs!!!
Emma xxxx

Saturday 13 April 2013

Library Books and Medicine Tea!!!

Oooohhh 안녕하세요 !!!! (That's 'Hello' in Korean....although I still can't ever remember it, let alone manage to pronounce it!!!)
So I've been quite slow on the old updates during my rural travelling adventures....mainly because now, It's full swing in the studio as I work on my new pieces for this series of work that I'm developing here in South Korea.... It's been really great working in the space as it's lovely and quiet and it gives me some hardcore time to get sewing and making my new collection! I'm really excited about all of the fabrics and medium I'm using as all of it is sourced entirely from S.Korea so it's a great chance to use a whole new range of colours, textures and prints!
My research here is a continual process so it's important for me to keep documenting my experiences and constantly seeking out new channels of influence which will be incorporated into my projects. A major focus of my current work is based around people and the community so I've been spending a lot of time with the locals and learning more about their day to day lives, which is super important for me in being able to fully grasp the true identity and character of the areas that I am interested in reflecting in my work.
So recently I enjoyed a special trip to a little village library which was really fun!!! It was super neat and organised and the librarian was so helpful. She even gave us 'medicine tea' and red bean rice cakes when we arrived!!! This was a new experience for me as usually back at home you have to sneak a drink of water in a library in full stealth mode~so it was nice to be able to sit amongst all of the colourful books and enjoy a cup of tea and an afternoon snack without getting shouted at!
It would be so easy to spend days upon end in this lovely, little library....I found a tonne of AMAZINGGG books that I just didn't want to ever return! It was quite tricky for me not being able to read Korean, so it was a bit of a task to find what I wanted as all I could see were rows and rows of books with indecipherable, squiggly characters on the spines...but that was an excuse to hang around there even longer!!!
A couple of the main themes of my project are Korean craft techniques and the idea of passing on folk tales and storytelling so I was able to find the perfect books for my research! Of course I even sneaked in a MAGICAL book all about stove-top, cake baking which is full of all of these awesome, colourful recipes for making treats that don't require and oven!!!
I've been doing some stove-top experiments....so far I've only managed a gourmet pizza made in a frying pan which is somewhat of a challenge when it comes to finding ingredients...but is totally worth the hassle when it comes to late night sewing treats and Western food cravings!!!!
I also found a beaut of a book all about Korean Origami... although it's usually considered a Japanese craft and the word originates from the Japanese language, it's a hugely popular past time here...another Korean paper craft is Hanji, which is used for making household items like lamps, pots and dishes so it's fun to be able to learn more about these methods and consider ways of drawing them into my projects. The Korean origami book was AMAZING....so many cute and colourful ideas and the pictures were adorable!!!
That's what has basically been going on recently.... when I've not been sewing I've been doing things like drinking coffee with the nun, riding around in cars called 'Gallopers', encountering more big spiders.... you get the idea!!!!
Now it's time to clean up the studio as there is literally a carpet of thread, fabric scraps, sequins and pins throughout the whole place.....then it's kettle on and back to the sewing machine!!! Talking of the sewing machine....I finally have one in the studio now after almost 6 weeks of hand sewing and bleeding fingers...I've never been so happy to see a sewing machine IN MY LIFE!!!
Anyway, that's all for now!! Latersssss!!!
Love and Sparkles,
Emma xxxx

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Dinner Party in the Studio!!!

OOooohhh Hiya!!!!!!! We recently threw a little dinner party in the studio for a few people from the local community which was a great chance to share some interesting stories and to let people know about the residency project and the concepts behind our work. 
We have been incredibly lucky to meet some wonderful people and it's really great to get involved as people have been so welcoming and friendly which makes for a really special experience. Everyone that we met has been unbelievably kind and people will go out of their way to help you, or to tell you about their lives and the invites to events and social happenings are endless!!!! 
Over Easter we were invited to a community festival in which 'Cow's Head Soup' was the speciality!! eeeekkk!!! For me it was a few rice cakes after politely turning down a 'fruit salad' which was in fact persimmon mixed with mayonnaise and...wait for it.... CRABSTICKS?!!?!? In a fruit salad?!?!?! Thanks but, no thanks!!! It was a bit daunting cooking for a bunch of people who were so curious as to what the vegetarian foreigner with the pink hair was going to whip up!!!!

It was a really great night and the guests turned up with party poppers, cakes, candles and cute little bottles of orange juice!!! The cake was AMAZINGGGG! It was filled with sweet potato custard and had 'Emma & Soo-Young~ WE LOVE YOU!' written on top!!!! wahhhhhhhh soooo lovely!!!!! So it was a really fun evening!!!!
Anyway, that's all for now!!!
Love and Sparkles,
Emma xxxx

Countryside Adventures, Korean Style!!!

Ooops I've been super slow at updating my blog over the past couple of weeks....I had an outrageously hectic week with my work schedule in preparation to heading off to explore more of lovely South Korea!Mammoth amounts of research and collecting of fabrics in Seoul and late night sewing sessions galore! Last week I travelled with a fellow artist in residence, Soo-young, to the beautiful Korean countryside!
A huge part of my project is based around community interaction and gaining an understanding of heritage and cultural identity, mainly within rural communities so it's an awesome opportunity to be able to get that first hand insight and meet people to hear their stories. I'm really interested in the fishing industry here and how local institutions operate in a village environment....it's such a massive contrast to my everyday life so it's really incredible to see and amazing to meet people who can teach me so much.
Touring around and meeting so many new people has allowed me to do some hardcore research and I'm now in the process of cracking on with my new works as part of my artist residency. The fabric markets here in South Korea are the best thing ever....I love being able to find everything I could ever possibly need all under one roof~ Dongdaemun is a total dreamland!!! There are some amazing colours and prints so it's been exciting to source so many new fabrics and I'm super excited to be working with them! My rural adventures have allowed me to see some super dramatic landscapes and it's the perfect time of year to check out such places out as there are some interesting colours and textures with spring just lurking around the corner. At the moment the farmers are burning the dead stumps in their rice fields in preparation for growing the new crops, so everything looks kind of dull and gloomy but then you see all of these neon orange flames blazing...which also means there's a nice bonfire smell all over the place!
Of course with the countryside also comes wildlife...as we have established before I'm really not one for creepy crawlies etc. In fact the other night my lifetime nightmare actually came true...Imagine the middle of the night, popping to make a cup of tea...what's that on the floor??? Yeah, biggest spider I've ever seen in my life... 
this one was one of those proper style ones that you see on the internet and stuff.....not your standard house spider.....it was the worst experience ever...we were HYSTERICAL.....our screams didn't even sound human... The photo doesn't do it justice....this beast was about 3 inches wide and no way was I getting any closer with the camera....needless to say we didn't sleep that night and instead just sat drinking coffee and staring around the room on alert for any more!!! It was HORRENDOUS...I'll never forget this incident!!!!!!eeeeesh I can't bare to even think about it...!!!
Anyway...I've got a cup of tea waiting and a pile of sewing to be getting on with so on that note, I'll wrap it up here!
Love and Sparkles,
Emma xxxx