Four hours before guests would arrive, Ellen Lee carefully laid her fabric flat, and folded the first corner. When the second, a third fold were pinched together with a twist and knot, the form Ellen Lee was creating started to take shape.
A few tugs, twists and one more knot later, she laid her finished creation aside, picked up another flask of mezcal, laid it on a red bandana, and folded the first corner. She’d do this seventy times, one for each guest at the Frieze Seoul x Gyopo Dinner during Los Angeles Art Week.
Every flask, wrapped in a bandana, now had a small handle for carrying. The gift, its wrapping, and its carrying case, all one in the same. This is the art of bojagi.
After she finished wrapping, she sipped on a mezcal yuzu margarita and shared a bit about herself, and how she started wrapping under the name Nossi Bojagi
Special thanks to David and Jenny at Process & Practice for introducing us to Ellen.
Paper or plastic gift wrapping is pretty and fun. There is also the pleasure of tearing it open. But I feel uncomfortable because the wrapping produces so much waste.
Reusability is one of the important functions of Bojagi. It can be washed, folded, stored in a drawer, and reused. You can reduce waste and still make beautiful packaging, while maintaining that satisfying feeling of unraveling a gift.
I really enjoyed wrapping it in Madre's cotton bandana. Most of the Bojagi are leftover fabrics used in daily life. There is also a Jogakbo made of a large piece of fabric by stitching small pieces together like a quilt.
For Nossi’s Bojagi products, I mainly make with the traditional fabric which is also a material of Hanbok, the traditional Korean costume. I also have organic cotton or cotton blend items as well. It can be reused until the fabric breaks up.
The world-renowned artist Kim Soo Ja is someone I deeply admire. Since the early 1990s, artist Kim Soo-ja has already expressed a combined universe by uniting all things into one with 'Bottari', a big round shape of luggage wrapped with a Bojagi made from traditional Korean bedding fabrics.
Private workshops can be held at any time upon request. There are requests for a variety of occasions such as bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, mother and son time and much more.
Classes with the Korean Cultural Center or the Korean Center were held online during the pandemic, and there were more than 100 participants at a time.
The time to learn Korean culture and how to tie a Bojagi is an enjoyable time for everyone. Such an easy and useful skill that you can apply in your daily life. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Haha, I think it would be so much fun just imagining it! If you don't remember, I'll do it again anytime, so don't worry and sip more mezcal. You can even create really cool wrappings and knots with the magic of mezcal!
It would be nice to focus on long, slim, round bottle wrappings with handles; when unwrapped, Bojagi can be used as table cloth or cocktail napkin.
Let's do it together! I think it would be better to do it at the beach or in the woods.
Defined as a wrapping cloth in Korean, Bojagi’s seemingly endless use has persisted Since ancient times. Various materials and sizes of Bojagi were always used for a variety of purposes. From wrapping travel luggage to packing school backpacks, lunch bags, baby carriers, and even basic storage.
A famed tradition however, created a culture by which important items were to be wrapped in higher end Bojagi when exchanging gifts with the other party in a marriage or business relationship.
Bojagi wrapping has a unicultural context of preserving fortune, delivering with sincerity, and cherishing the heart.
I moved to LA in 2000. Since 2006, as a columnist specializing in food and in charge of the Koreatown business at the KoreaTimes, I have met with many people in Koreatown and heard stories about life as a business owner. It was such a fascinating experience. Then, as I learned that I am also a member of Koreatown as a first-generation immigrant, I began to think about belonging to an identity.
At the same time, as a Korean American, I wanted to do something related to Korean culture. Luckily, I had the opportunity to experience and learn Bojagi wrappings in the summer of 2018. I went to Korea and learned how to make knots and started a workshop when I came back to L.A. This is how Nossi was born.
As someone who fully grew up in Korea and came to the United States, and now that I have lived in the States for over 20 years, I think my strong point is that I have the power to connect both sides. It's so much fun.