I'm always delighted by the serendipitous moments in my life. It's though the Universe has sprinkled magic dust, thrown me the perfect wave, or created a breadcrumb trail to my next discovery. A few days ago, I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting two very talented and accomplished artists, Chunghie Lee and Jiyoung Chung, in a wonderful moment of serendipity. Chunghie and Jiyoung are multidisciplinary artists, educators, authors—and both have introduced traditional Korean fiber arts techniques to new audiences, inspiring contemporary reinterpretations in a variety of applications.
Our chance meeting occurred at Smithsonian Craft2Wear, which I attended with a friend, on a whim. My friend and I had been catching up when I showed her photos of one of my latest projects—a lacy example of Joomchi, a Korean paper art where layers of mulberry paper are combined through a technique similar to felting. Imagine my surprise when a few minutes later we ran into Jiyoung Chung—the woman who introduced Joomchi to the U.S.! I recognized her face from her photo in the book she authored, Joomchi & Beyond, which has become my Joomchi bible. Jiyoung was at Craft2Wear to support Chunghie, who was exhibiting her amazing BoJaGi designs (wearable sculpture!).
That is when I discovered Chunghie's book, BOJAGI & BEYOND II—another must for my library. BoJaGi is a traditional Korean wrapping cloth, which is typically comprised of fabric that is embroidered or created by patchwork. It is the patchwork BoJaGi that resonates with me. I have been enamored of patchwork and stitching since I was young. While I have used stitching in many of my works, I have used it sparingly. Chunghie has inspired me to combine my favorite forms and materials with more stitching (a riff on BoJaGi). I'm experimenting right now, with the goal of finding the right combination of materials and methods to support my next installation.
It was a great pleasure to meet this dynamic duo—the mother-daughter team responsible for influencing countless other creatives in many places around the globe. I hope that the Universe will bring us together again some day!
Has your practice or life been influenced by serendipity? Feel free to respond in the comments below. I'd love to hear about your luck in making discoveries through chance.