“Hanbok and Handicrafts”: Korean Culture Club Hosts Art Workshop

All photos by Kate Dempsey

By Kate Dempsey


   The Gold Lounge in the Student Center was transformed into a calm, artistic scene transporting Brooklyn College students to South Korea as they made their artwork. “TWICE” and “New Jeans” K-Pop songs merged with attendees’ laughter as they created a cacophony of Korean cultural immersion.

   The Korean Culture Club (KCC) hosted the arts workshop to further immerse BC students in Korean culture, especially those who may just be beginning to learn more about the culture. For students who have just completed finals and others who are heading into finals, the event was an opportunity for students to relax during this stressful time of the semester.

   “Our main goal was to definitely introduce Korean art and build upon a stronger community bond amongst members and individuals,” said Paula Chewy, vice president of KCC. “We would like our members to relax, as in Korea they deeply care a lot about health and are continuously working on ways to help improve mental health.”

   Among the crafts chosen was creating origami versions of “hanboks”: traditional Korean clothing decorated in vibrant colors and patterns, which visually represent what the wearer wishes for in the future. For the KCC board, it was a moment to appreciate the newly-arrived spring season.

   “Korea’s art culture can be described as vibrant and unique, as it offers a gratifying combination of tradition and modernity,” said Chewy. “We chose cherry blossoms to help convey how we wish that spring will bring joy to everyone, and we also had other patterns like waves, forest, and other flowers to display the beauty of appreciating our surroundings and for smooth transitioning to the next season.” 

   Among other art creations for attendees was a “Ddakji” station, a traditional game in Korea (and most famously seen in the Korean-produced Netflix series “Squid Game”) which involves players using folded paper tiles to flip their opponent’s tile over. The game, popular amongst Korean youth, teaches players to be resilient to win the game of flipping the opponent’s tile.

   The event allowed attendees to fulfill their desires of learning more about Korea, some having learned about Korea firsthand during previous visits. Knowing that there is a dedicated club towards Korean culture on campus helps to foster the appreciation of the culture.

   “I just came back from Korea when I joined, and I wanted to see what [the club] was about,” said Alexius Petitfrere, an arts major at BC. “Everyone is just so welcoming and willing to help out and I love arts and crafts too, being an arts major, and I also just love being able to bond with people over a common interest.” 

   Other attendees expressed their appreciation of KCC for bringing people together through creative means.. 

   “I love arts and crafts […] just [to] be here at this event and let my creativity flow, it’s a really nice thing,” said Kat Rodriguez, a sophomore at BC. “They always come up with great, creative events. I’m always down to like be there and participate and make some new friends, it’s a great time.” 

   Another art station included a create-your-own “Hahoetal” mask. While at first the masks may seem like that of being part of a Halloween costume, these traditional Korean masks are believed to have magical powers to protect those who wear them, and can often be found hanging outside of homes. “We wanted to scare away any bad and negative feelings the members were feeling, and to express themselves with their mask and to have the powers to protect their grades and good energy,” said Chewy.

   One of the last stations for participants to make artwork at was dedicated to making bookmarks. While just used here in the United States to remember one’s spot in their book, bookmarks in Korea have added significance to the culture.

   “Korean bookmarks have a huge cultural significance, such as representing traditional Korean doors, cultural properties, or traditional Korean designs,” said Chewy. “But for the activity, we put a modern twist as in Myeongdong–a neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea–is popular for its shopping, parade route, and tourism, [and] there are multiple stationary locations such as decorating and customizing bags, hats, sneakers, hoodies, keychains, and even bookmarks.” 

   With a global phenomenon and craze over K-Pop and K-Drama, the event allowed participants to have their creative say in Korean-inspired art. 

   “It was really fun to get to create art pieces we’d usually see in dramas or other types of media,” Anastasia Johnson, president of KCC, said. “It was also fun seeing how people interpreted their own art styles to the Korean ones.”

   The event, according to its members, was a testament to the growing appreciation of Korean culture. Through this shared appreciation, more people can bond with one another and raise awareness about the beauty within Korean culture.

   “It was a great way to be expressive, and the creativity of everyone around me was inspiring towards my own piece,” said Johnson. “As for the Hanboks, I’m glad we were able to showcase such traditional clothing pieces, people got to really see some of the beauty of the culture.”


   Students interested in learning more about Korean culture or joining KCC can check out their Instagram at @kcc.bc

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