Baltimore Natural Dye Symposium Series

Korean Natural Dye: Traditions meet Contemporary and Beyond

Natural dye and its traditions have been widely practiced and inherited by Koreans. It is connected deeply to Korean textile traditions and daily necessities products and fun recreations in modern society. In this session, we will be hearing from four natural dye practitioners and scholars who research and create arts, crafts, and educational programs with various types of traditional Korean natural dye and textile methods. 

"Introducing the unknown beauty of natural dye traditions, textile arts, and ancestor’s wisdom from my mother country is very special to me as a Korean-American immigrant, especially at the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  I hope this session becomes an intersectional path connecting two cultures from my old home and my new home, with honoring and healing.  Also, I hope this session helps people who are not familiar with Korean and East Asian cultures to learn, understand and enjoy, giving new perspective about looking at one of the biggest current issues; hate crimes and microaggressions toward Asians, BIPOC, and immigrant communities in this nation and globally." - Rosa Chang

This event was held on Saturday, May 1, 2021. A recording of the night's session is included below, along with individual interviews with each panelist.


Learn More About the Panelists

Dr. Heo, Buk-Gu

Dr. Heo, Buk-Gu has been working as an educator, researcher, and artist focusing on the Korean traditional paper flower making in Korea. He earned both his Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Agriculture from Mokpo National University in Mokpo, South Korea. He is the Chief of Management Bureau of the Naju-si Natural Dyeing Cultural Foundation (the management of Natural Dyeing Cultural Center) and a faculty in the Horticulture Department at Wonkwang University. As one of the representative researchers in Korean traditional natural dye, craft, and Horticulture, he has written and published over 105 publications and more than 325 research papers, including news columns and magazines in South Korea. His paper flower arts have been actively exhibited in Korea and Taiwan.

한국 국립 목포대학교(Mokpo National University) 대학원 졸업(농학박사)했다. 현재 재단법인나주시천연염색재단에서 운영국장으로 근무하고 있으며, 원광대학교(Wonkwang University) 원예학과 겸임교수를 하고 있다. 연구 분야는 천연염색, 화훼학이며, 연구실적으로는 단행본 105권을 저술했으며, 학술지에 325편의 논문을 게재했다. 신문 칼럼위원, 잡지 기고 등 저술가 및 한국 전통 종이꽃을 이용한 작품 활동을 하고 있다.

Cho, Mi Sook

Cho, Mi Sook earned her Bachelor's degree in Fashion Industry at Ehwa Woman's University. From 1997 to 1998 she’d learned Korean Natural Dyeing from two natural dyeing masters, Lee Na Kyung and Kim Jeong Hwa. She studied Korean Traditional Clothing at Ehwa Graduate School in 2001 and obtained a master’s degree by Analysis of Research Trends of Natural Dyeing in 2004 and completed a doctoral course in 2006. Since 1999 she’s been developing a program and educating diverse students at University preschools, such as Ehwa Woman's University, Korea National College of Agriculture and Fisheries, Wonkwang Digital University, elementary school, middle school, and high school, including students with developmental disabilities, single-parent family, a teacher, a housewife, and so on. The program is about the social, historic, and cultural meaning of color, a message of change nature delivers, the peace that handwork provides, and interaction with other people. Furthermore, natural dying practice allows to interpret procedures and results of creating a natural color as the story of life and to share the comfort that it yields through the story of color, imaging color, naming color programs. Since 2004 she’s been participating in the project of reproducing excavated costumes and books, traditional color reconstruction, and restoring natural dyeing artifacts. She published the book ‘Unique Color Story - Natural dyeing that finds your color in ourselves (색다른 색이야기 – 우리 안의 색을 찾는 천연염색)’ in 2007. The book is selected as an educational book of the year by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. She also wrote terminology of dyeing joining in compiling a garment dictionary twice.

이화여자대학교에서 의류직물학과를 졸업했고, 졸업 후, 1997~1998 이나경 선생님, 김정화 선생님으로부터 자연염색을 사사 받았다. 2001년 이화여자대학교 대학원에 진학해서 전통복식을 전공하였고, 2004년 [천연염색 연구동향 분석]석사학위를 받았다. 2006년 같은 대학원에서 박사과정을 수료하였다. 2004년부터 출토복식 재현, 의궤 복제사업, 전통색 재현 등 천연염색 유물 복원 프로 젝트에 참여했다. 2007년 [색다른 색이야기 – 우리 안에 색을 찾는 천연염색] 책을 출판하였고, 그 해 문화관광부에서 선정하는 예술분야 교양도서가 되었다. 두 차례 [복식사전] 편찬 사업에 참여하여 염색용어를 집필하였다. 1999년부터 대학(이화여대, 국립농수산 대학, 원광디지털대학) 유치원, 초중고등 학교 학생, 발달장애학교 학생, 한 부모 가정, 교사, 주부 등 다양한 대상들과 만나며 그들 에 맞는 프로그램을 개발하였고 교육하고 있다. ‘색‘이라는 주제가 가지고 있는 사회, 역사, 문화적 의미, 자연이 주는 변화의 메시지, 손으로 하는 작업이 주는 평화, 나와 타인이 함께 하는 소통에 대해 이야기하고 있다 . 자연염색 실습과 함께 자연이 주는 색을 만드는 과정과 결과를 삶의 이야기로 해석 하고, 내 기억속의 색, 색 이야기, 색 이름 짓기, 색 상상하기 등의 프로그램 등을 통 해 색이 주는 위안을 공유하고 있다. 요즘 “전통보자기에 나타난 한국인의 미의식”을 주제로 열심히 강의하고 있다. 자연과 함께 하는 삶을 살았던 한국인(조상)들의 삶의 철학을 들여다보고, 21세기를 사는 우리 시대를 돌아보기를 바란다. 

SouJou Jang

SouJou Jang is an indigo dyer, farmer, and teacher who works with Korean natural indigo dyeing. SouJou Jang runs an indigo farm with Korean Natural Indigo Dyeing Co-op and develops organic products made of natural indigo dyeing. SouJou Jang is the founder and CEO of Kindigo, the director at the Korea Natural Indigo Cooperation. She earned a Ph.D. degree in Convergence Engineering Science from the Hoseo University: Hoseo Graduate School of Venture where she wrote a thesis on indigo’s medical value and application. Previously she was the headteacher at Bandi Eco-School from 2000-2012 and has organized the Indigo Festival at Craft week Korea from 2018-2020.  She received the Gold, Silver, Bronze, Seoul Mayor's Prize at the International Women's Invention Exposition in 2015.  

Aimee Lee

Aimee Lee is an artist who makes paper, writes, and advocates for Korean papermaking practices (BA, Oberlin College; MFA, Columbia College Chicago). Her Fulbright research led to the first hanji studio in North America, an award-winning book, Hanji Unfurled, and an active studio practice that includes jiseung, joomchi, paper textile, botanical paper, and natural dyeing techniques. She travels the world to teach, exhibit, and serve as a resident artist while also building and enhancing studios for Korean and East Asian papermaking. She teaches artists’ books at the Cleveland Institute of Art and is an Ohio Arts Council Heritage Fellow. Her favorite plant for papermaking is milkweed and she is currently a Fulbright Senior Scholar conducting toolmaking research in Korea.


This event series is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council.